What Does Yellow Dock Look Like?

Yellow Dock weeds are some of the most prevalent weeds in North America and all over the world. Despite their abundance, however, there are many people who don’t know what they look like, and fewer even know what they’re named.

A lot of homeowners and amateur gardeners are worried about Dock weeds, especially if one is looking to get rid of the weeds in their lawn. If you fall into this category, then identifying them is the first step. Yellow 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 Yellow Dock weeds and provide information on how to identify them. We will also discuss their growing patterns, as well as how to get rid of them. So, what does Yellow Dock look like? Let’s find out!

What is Yellow Dock?

Rumex crispus, also called Curly Dock or Yellow Dock, is native to Europe and western Asia, but can be found all over the world, and is common in the United States, southern Canada, and even Ireland.

It is one of the most common forms of Dock Weed, which is a very invasive weed species that has been classified as an injurous weed in the U.K. and a noxious weed in the U.S.

Dock weed leaves used to be boiled and fed to pigs as well as fallow deer, and their leaves have also been used to wrap cheese and butter. For centuries children have been encouraged to rub dock leaves on their skin to treat the burning sensation of a stinging nettle sting.

Where Does Yellow Dock Grow?

Dock weeds like Yellow Dock are adaptable and can thrive in nearly any setting, which is what makes them so invasive and harmful. They may also be found in disturbed, poor, or useless soil; waste areas; road sides; coastlines; fields; meadows; and along forest margins.

Underground, dock weeds have a huge, branching tap root that can regrow from the ground level if destroyed. This makes them difficult to eradicate, as well as stealing much of the surrounding soil’s nutrients so that other plants can’t get it.

Because of their longevity, it’s difficult to get rid of them for good. They create a lot of seeds and can live in the soil for up to 50 years, making them extremely hard to remove permanently.

How to Identify Yellow Dock

Telling the many Dock weeds apart can be confusing, but here are some things to look out for to better identify Yellow Dock.

Visual Characteristics 

The smooth, wavy, and curly edges of the Curly Dock’s leaves are what earned it that name. This dock weed can produce stalks up to 5 feet tall from its branching stems; flowers and seeds develop in clusters on these branches.

The flower stalk of the plant is known as an inflorescence – hence the name Yellow Dock – and grows to 1.5 meters tall (about 5 feet). The leaves that emerge from a large base rosette with distinct waved or curled edges, which can reach 14 – 24 centimeters (or approxmately 5 – 9 inches).

Flowers and seeds of Yellow Dock are produced in clusters on branched stems, with the biggest cluster at the apex. The seeds are dark brown and enclosed within the calyx of the flower that generated them.

Growth Stages

Similar to Broadleaf Dock, the spring is the time when the rosette-based leaves regrow, emerging from the middle of the plant. Between June and September is when the plant blossoms.

Other Unique Traits

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

Yellow Dock contains laxatives that have anti-inflammatory actions and chemical compounds that may kill parasites, germs, and fungi.

People use Yellow Dock to treat pain, nasal congestion, respiratory tract swelling and irritation, constipation, hemorrhoids, and a variety of other issues, but this is based on anecdotal evidence rather than scientific consensus.

Plants That Look Like Yellow Dock

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

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

Yellow Wood Sorrel is another weed that some people mix up with Yellow Dock, because their names are similar. However, they don’t really look alike – Yellow Wood Sorrel has very small leaves and bright, yellow flowers.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Dock

Yellow Dock can be challenging to get rid of from your yard or garden once it has taken root. There are, however, certain things you may do to get rid of it.

Chemical herbicides are one of the most effective ways to get rid of dock weeds. If you’re going to use chemicals, a broadleaf weed killer such as Ortho Weed B Gone is your best bet, because they specialize in killing broadleaf and dock weeds. Triclopyr is another powerful dock weed killer; any sort of brush killer that includes it is excellent.

Yellow Dock is difficult to remove with organic methods such as hand pulling, because the root system is so deep it’s hard to get the entire root, and the weed can regrow from damaged or partial roots. If you are able to dig up at least three inches of the taproot and root system, however, you have a chance.

To do it this way, wait for it to rain, as roots are simpler to dig up when the soil is moist or wet. Burn any root fragments rather than composting them, and use a shovel or hand trowel instead of your hands.

Ending Thoughts

So there you have it, a comprehensive guide to Yellow Dock. We’ve covered what this weed looks like and how to identify it, its growing patterns, and some of the other weeds that you might get it mixed up with.

Yellow Dock is a hardy plant that can be found in many different habitats, and it is considered an invasive weed in some places. If you think you have Yellow Dock in your backyard, you shouldn’t hesitate to get rid of it right away!

If you are still unsure after reading this post whether or not the plant in question is Yellow Dock, you can certainly reach out to us for help. We hope you enjoyed learning about Yellow Dock weeds, and be sure to keep an eye out for them in your backyard and neighborhood!