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How to Kill Dock Weed Organically

Rachel is a passionate plantsperson, YouTuber and author living in Ireland. She grows a wide range of hardy subtropical and tropical plants.

Don't use a shovel or trowel to remove dock weed.

Don't use a shovel or trowel to remove dock weed.

What Is Dock Weed?

Getting rid of dock weed without the use of chemicals can be challenging, but if you do it correctly, you'll be successful. Dock weed is a common and unwanted sight in the garden. It's characterized by coarse, tatty-looking leaves. It spreads by seed produced by tiny, brownish-green flowers, which appear in abundance in summer. It's spread by the wind and the birds who love to eat it.

The plant itself is a perennial, so each year, individual plants get bigger and bigger, producing more seed and deeper roots. Dock weed can pop up in your flower beds or in your lawn, but one thing is for sure, it isn't wanted in either place.

The Problem With Taproots

The main issue when trying to weed it out is that dock has deep branching taproots. Normal weeding with the trowel will break the taproot, removing just the top few inches of root. The problem with that is the plant will quickly regrow from pieces of root left in the soil.

Dock weed plant in a garden.

Dock weed plant in a garden.

How to Remove Dock Weed From Your Garden

When weeding, if you come across a dock, don't be tempted to try and remove it by digging with your trowel. Go and get a garden fork. With its long teeth and spaces between, the fork is the perfect tool for removing a dock. It loosens the earth around the taproot enabling you to slide the whole thing out. A shovel or spade will just snap the root at the lowest level that you managed to dig it in.

Step-by-Step Process

  1. Insert your fork deeply into the soil to one side of the dock.
  2. Remove the fork, and repeat the task on all sides of the plant.
  3. Wiggle the fork slightly to loosen the earth.
  4. Once you have worked all the way around the weed, do it again, this time going a little deeper.
  5. Insert your fork deeply into the soil on one side and turn.
  6. Try pulling gently at the top of the dock weed to see if it gives, and it should come straight out. An intact root system will show that you've been successful.
Dock weed successfully removed with the taproots intact.

Dock weed successfully removed with the taproots intact.

Tips for Successfully Removing Dock Weed

  • Take your time with this job. If you're impatient, you'll end up snapping the taproot, and that dock will just be back again the next time you weed your garden bed.
  • Moist soil after rain makes the job easier.
  • Don't compost the roots.
Close up of dock weed leaf to aid in plant identification.

Close up of dock weed leaf to aid in plant identification.

How to Kill Dock Weed in Your Lawn

For dock weed in the lawn, regular close mowing will keep infestations in check. It prevents them from flowering and setting seeds. Any plant that's constantly cut in this manner will die over time.

So remember, don't be lazy. Go and get a garden fork or mower, and happy growing!

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