Curly Dock

Biological information:curlydock

  • Common name: Curly Dock
  • Scientific name: Rumex crispus (acid, curled)
  • Family or class: Polygonaceae

Symptoms and or signs to watch out for:

  • green leaves early in the spring, tinged with red
  • distinctive waved or curled edges
  • favors wet/overwatered/poorly-drained soil
  • can be toxic to livestock (humans can eat it)

Life cycle:

  • perennial flowering plant (buckwheat family)

Mode of reproduction:

  • seeds or sprouts (taproot)
  • seeds can survive 50+ years

Vectors for the pest:

  • yes (caterpillar–eats foliage)

Overwintering habit:

  • fruiting stems die in late summer, new leaves form in early winter

Alternate hosts:

  • water, wind, animal fur, humans
  • rust fungus, leaf spot fungus

Horticultural production information:

Preventative strategies:

  • tilling
  • improve soil drainage

Threshold levels:

  • varies depending on if it is hosting pests, if it is directly in bed/on side, etc.

Control options:

Physical controls:

  • mowing
  • tilling
  • dig out using spade/digging fork (at least 2 inches below the soil surface)

                             -animal grazing

Biological controls:

  • none

Chemical controls:

  • herbicides (clove oil, acetic/citric acid)


Historical notes from Farm to YoU NH:

Date/circumstances observed (Pictures)

Control method used, efficacy of control method

  • manual removal (broadfork, by hand)
  • works effectively on small scale



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