What Does Broadleaf Dock Look Like?

Broadleaf Dock weeds are one of the most abundant weeds in North America and all over the world. Despite their ubiquity, however, there are many people who don’t know what they look like, and even fewer know what they’re called.

Many homeowners are worried about Dock weeds, especially if they are looking to get rid of the weeds in their lawn. If this is you, then you should be able to identify them when you see them. Broadleaf Dock is a pesky and invasive weed that can take over your landscape if you’re not careful, and it can be difficult to get rid of, so it’s important to know what to look for.

In this blog post, we will take a closer look at Dock weeds and provide information on how to identify them. We will also discuss where they grow and how to get rid of them. So, what does Broadleaf Dock look like? Let’s find out!

What is Broadleaf Dock?

Broadleaf dock (Rumex obtusifolius) is a perennial weed that can be identified by its broad leaves and reddish-green stems. It is the most common form of Dock Weed, which as a species is classified as a noxious weed in the U.S. and an injurious weed in the U.K.

The leaves of the dock weed were boiled and fed to pigs and fallow deer as well. The leaves have also been used to wrap cheese and butter. Children have been encouraged to use dock leaves for nettle stings, which is a common practice that continues today.

Where Does Broadleaf Dock Grow?

Broadleaf Dock is a weed that grows in moist areas like meadows, fields, and gardens. This weed thrives in places with standing water or high levels of precipitation. Broadleaf dock prefers wet weather, so regions with standing water or excessive rainfall are ideal for it to grow.

It may also be found in areas such as overgrown agricultural land, meadows, waste ground, country road sides, ditches, riverbanks, woodland margins, forest clearings, and orchards.

How to Identify Broadleaf Dock

As Dock weeds are numerous, it is helpful to know exactly how to identify Broadleaf Dock and what makes it distinguishable.

Visual Characteristics 

As the name Broad-leaved Dock suggests, this weed is most easily recognized by its large, broad leaves that stick up in a cluster close to the ground and are shaped like the heart. These leaves are heart-shaped on the bottom and pointed on top, and they can grow to be up to 12 inches long and 6 inches wide. The stems of some of the leaves at the bottom of the weed are reddish along the side.

The flower spikes are adorned with numerous clusters of brown or crimson colored flowers. The leaves are very large, oblong in shape, and their edges are wavy, and they form a basal rosette.

Growth Stages

Knowing what Broadleaf Dock looks like at different life stages is crucial when attempting to identify whether they’re developing on your lawn, so that you can take appropriate action. 

In most cases, leaf regrowth from the rosette starts to occur in the spring. Seedlings are distinguished by their oval leaves with red stems and rolled leaves that emerge from the center of the plant. The leaves can reach a length of up to 30 centimeters (or 12 inches) and a width of up to 15 centimeters (about 6 inches). The plant then blooms between June and September.

Other Unique Traits

Dock weeds often have a thick, branched tap root that can regrow from the top section if destroyed or damaged in any way.

Plants That Look Like Broadleaf Dock

Broadleaf Dock, as a common form of the Dock Weed family, is very similar to other types of dock weed, such as Yellow Dock, Common Sorrel, Red Dock, Toothed Dock, Sheep Sorrel, and others.

In all of these Dock Weeds of the Rumex family, the flowers are carried in clusters above the leaves, and the flowers and seeds grow on long clusters at the top of a stem that emerges from the rosette’s base. In many species, the flowers are green, but in some, them and their stems may be brick-red.

Yellow Dock is the weed most commonly related to Broadleaf Dock, but you can tell they’re different due to Yellow Dock’s thinner and wavier leaves.

How to Get Rid of Broadleaf Dock

Dock Weeds in general, and Broadleaf Dock in particular, can be quite difficult to remove from your garden or lawn once it has established a foothold there. However, there are some actions you can take to eliminate Broadleaf Dock.

Chemical herbicides are one of the most efficient dock weed killing methods available. If you do intend on using chemical treatments, be sure they’re for broadleaf weeds like Ortho Weed B Gone, which is a broadleaf weed killer. Triclopyr is an effective dock weed killer, so any type of brush killer that has this is a good option.

Removing Broadleaf Dock with organic means, such as hand pulling, is tough. This is due to the fact that the root system is so deep and resilient that it can regrow from any damaged roots. However, if you are able to dig up at least three inches of the taproot and root system, you have a chance.

To do so, wait for it to rain, as roots are easier to dig up when the soil is moist or wet. Use a shovel or hand trowel, and burn any root pieces rather than composting them.

In Summary

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to Broadleaf Dock. We’ve covered what this plant looks like, where it grows, how to identify it, and some of its unique traits.

Broadleaf dock is an interesting plant that can be found in a variety of habitats, and is considered an invasive weed in certain areas. If you think you have Broadleaf Dock in your backyard, don’t hesitate to start removing it right away!

As always, if you are still unsure after reading this post whether or not the plant in question is Broadleaf Dock, please reach out to us for help. We hope you enjoyed learning about broadleaf dock and will keep an eye out for it in your area!