Dock (Rumex spp)
There are several species of dock that are commonly found in New Zealand pastures and crops. Broad-leaved dock is the most common, however curled dock and fiddle docks are also very prevalent. Most species are found throughout New Zealand and are very abundant around stockyards, cowsheds and damp arable and pasture land.
As the name implies, broad-leaved dock has large broad leaves that grow up to 35cm long and 15cm wide. Fiddle dock has violin shaped leaves whereas curled dock has relatively narrow, crinkled-edged leaves.
All plants have a stout perennial tap root that will re-grow easily if the plant is damaged i.e. after cultivation. Most species have flowering stems that are leafy and erect and can grow up to 1 metre tall. The flowers grow in whorls and are green to red in colour.
Young plants tend to be eaten by sheep but not by cattle or horses.
Control of Docks
Best results are achieved when the plants are actively growing - this is usually from October to December.
Spot Spraying in pasture – Tordon* MAX
Tordon MAX at 250ml/100Ltr at any stage of growth will provide control without damage to pasture grasses. Ensure complete coverage is achieved.
New Pasture - Broadcast spraying – 2,4-DB herbicide.
The recommended herbicide for seedling docks in new pasture is 2,4-DB at 6-8L/ha for seedlings no bigger than 4 leaves. It is essential to spray at this stage if a high level of control is to be achieved. Note, 2,4-DB will not control dock plants that have re-grown from root chips.
The main product used for established docks in established pasture is Harmony™. This should be used in the spring when the docks plants are growing actively and are in full leaf.
Note - pasture suppression will result from the use of Harmony, see product label for further information and full instructions.
*Registered trademark of Dow AgroSciences.
Tordon MAX, 2,4-DB, and Harmony are registered pursuant to the ACVM act 1997 No’s 7321, 179, 4385