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Docks weeds (Rumex)

Dear Gardening Friends,

I'd be truly grateful for your advice please.

I've purchased an old cottage which was left in disrepair. I've cut back the hedgerows, ploughed and rotavatored the land.

Unfortunately, docks have returned in abundance. I've tried removed them by hand using a fork. Bloody back breaking work to be honest. There's so many docks on the ground, it's become almost an impossible job to remove them.

I'd be grateful for guidance on sprays which aren't damaging to the environment. I'm hesitant to use chemical, although I brought myself to realisation I've no other option.

As always, thank you.

Warm regards,



  • herbaceousherbaceous OxfordshirePosts: 2,313
    Hi @ian 49 and lots of sympathy for your dock problem. I manage a patch of stinging nettles with a couple of docks close by but do my best not to let them seed! My nemesis is couch grass but same principle, to get a head start so that you can just dig out the few I fear you may need to use a glyphosate weedkiller. I also am loathe to use chemicals but sometimes it is better to blitz and be done so you can cultivate.

    You may need two applications if the docks are more mature but then you should be able to deal with them on a more individual basis. It is a war of atrition but worth it.
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • RubytooRubytoo On the sofa, Southerly aspect.Posts: 1,287
    edited July 2019
    Really can't add to what herbaceous has said, except I don't know if you realized you may have made it worse by rotavating and chopping them up as you have noticed there are a lot more, they will re grow from bits of root as well as the seed that will have been brought to the surface.

    I still have two little bits of dock that come up from time to time I dug the worst out years ago, but there is always a little bit of root that puts new growth up. I think our bit actually resides in Australia, luckily we only have a small garden unlike what you have to deal with.. I'll get the pesky thing one day.
    Good Luck.

    Edited to add what size area approximately do you have to treat? That may help others with an answer or option.

  • PosyPosy Isle of Wight.Posts: 3,601
    There are no harmless sprays. I'd divide the area into sections and dig the stuff up bit by bit. Your muscles will become stronger and your back will learn to tolerate it. And before you jump to conclusions, I am 67 and have advanced arthritis of the spine!!!
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