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Scirpus americanus

Management Options

Mechanical/Physical Control Options

Three square can be cut and the rhizomes can be dug up but physical control is difficult because it can reestablish from seed or remaining rhizomes.

Biological Control Options

There is no known biological control for three square, although goats are known to forage on many types of emergent vegetation.

Chemical Control Options

The active ingredients that have been successful in treating three square include diquat (G) and glyphosate (G). E = excellent, G = good

Reward is a liquid diquat formulation that has been effective on three square.  It is a contact herbicide.  Contact herbicides act quickly and kill all plants cells that they contact.  A non-ionic aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) will have to be added to the Reward solution for good results.


Rodeo is a liquid glyphosate formulation and has been effective on three square.  It is a broad spectrum, systemic herbicide.  Systemic herbicides are absorbed and move within the plant to the site of action.  Systemic herbicides tend to act more slowly than contact herbicides.  An aquatically registered surfactant (see the label) will have to be added to the Rodeo solution for good results.


One danger with any chemical control method is the chance of an oxygen depletion after the treatment caused by the decomposition of the dead plant material.  Oxygen depletions can kill fish in the pond.  If the pond is heavily infested with weeds it may be possible (depending on the herbicide chosen) to treat the pond in sections and let each section decompose for about two weeks before treating another section.   Aeration, particularly at night, for several days after treatment may help control the oxygen depletion.


One common problem in using aquatic herbicides is determining area and/or volume of the pond or area to be treated.  To assist you with these determinations see SRAC #103 Calculating Area and Volume of Ponds and Tanks.


Many aquatically registered herbicides have water use restrictions.  For General Water Use Restrictions click here.


To see the labels for these products click on the name.  Always read and follow all label directions. Check label for water specific use restrictions.

Cultivation Options

Three square can be propagated by transplanting the whole plant or the rhizomes into moist soils during the winter or early spring.