About Docks

Docks are the most serious grassland weed problem in Europe from an economic perspective. A heavy infestation of docks can reduce grass production by up to 40%. Their broad leaves block sunlight from nearby grasses and they also use up valuable nutrients which the grasses could otherwise use. Mature docks are a hazard for baled silage as their strong stems can puncture bale wrapping, causing waste of valuable silage.

Cattle and sheep will eat docks which have about 70% of the nutrition value of grass.

However, a controlled population of docks has several benefits:

  • They prevent bloat in cattle. Bloat can be a serious problem in clover rich pastures.

  • Docks have very deep tap root which can be over 1 meter long allowing them to provide valuable nutrients to animals which are not available from shallow rooted grasses. Dock leaves have higher levels of potassium, zinc and magnesium than grass.

  • The deep tap-root also helps with water infiltration in soil.

  • Docks increase biodiversity by sustaining a vast array of life forms, including insects, fungii and microbes.

The ideal scenario is a controlled population of young docks that never reach maturity.

Dock Plants

“The zero-tolerance approach of the failed ‘war on weeds must give way to a new focus on the economics of dock management, which tolerates a low population of docks, based on the knowledge that eliminating all dock plants is a waste of money, and they are an important part of the natural biodiversity of Europe.”


Natural, Effective Dock Control