Curly dock is a perennial plant. It is also known as sour dock, yellow dock, and narrow-leaf dock. It is a tenacious weed with a thick, fleshy taproot.
Scientific name: Rumex Crispus
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Description and life cycle of curly dock
- The plant grows 1 to 4 feet tall and turns red-brown in the fall.
- Thick, fleshy, branching taproot.
- Stems are hairless and ridged.
- Forms a dense rosette or thick, 6-inch to 1-foot long leaves.
- Lance-shaped, bluish-green leaves; margins are curly and wavy.
- Leaves alternate on the stem with short petioles.
- Erect stems are slightly ridged and usually reddish.
- Flower head with small, greenish flowers in dense clusters at the top of stems; green calyxes with six sepals.
- Narrow leaves interspersed with flowers.
- Blooms early to late summer and frost.
- Reproduces by seed; seeds germinate spring and summer; also reproduces by regrowth of pieces of taproot left in the soil.
- One plant can produce 40,000 seeds which remain viable for 80 years.
- Tolerates poor soil and growing conditions.
Curly dock has a fleshy, large, branched taproot.
- Pull or dig out the weed when young, before the taproot develops.
- Dig out the large, branched taproot.
- Weaken mature plants by cutting off the top growth every week until the plant stops re-sprouting.
- Mulch to prevent germination of seed.
Curly dock is found throughout the United States and Southern Canada
Four quick ways to control weeds
- Weed early. Control weeds in the first month after they germinate.
- Weed often. Hand weed every two weeks through the season.
- Weed by hand when the soil is wet (best to get roots).
- Use a hoe if the soil is dry. Decapitate weeds before they flower and drop seed.
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