Advanced-Level Science Projects

How Close to a Plant Must Pesticides Be in Order to Be Beneficial?

There often is controversy over the use of pesticides. And yet, many people don't have a good understanding about exactly what pesticides are, and why they are often necessary for plant production.

A pesticide is anything that destroys pests or suppresses or alters their life cycles. We normally think of pests as bugs, but they also can be invasive plants, fungi, bacteria, and other organisms.

Pesticides are not necessarily synthetically produced. Many pesticides occur naturally. Pesticides are used to control bacteria, fungi, and insects; to control rodents and other animal pests; to control pest-category plants; and to repel pests.

In this suggested science fair project, you'll seek to discover how close to a plant a pesticide must be in order for it to be effective. You could choose any pesticide that you wish, but you'll need to use the same type of plants, growing conditions, and so forth.

You could do this experiment with potted plants set outside, but it would work better if you could plant four groups of the same plant at short distances apart directly in the soil.

Apply pesticide directly on one group of plants, according to manufacturer's instructions. Then, place pesticide near, but not on, the other groups of plants, varying the distance from group to group.

Observe how the different groups of plant fare as far as insect damage is concerned, in addition to their general health.

book cover

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Science Fair Projects © 2003 by Nancy K. O'Leary and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book direct from the publisher, visit the Penguin USA website or call 1-800-253-6476. You can also purchase this book at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.

highlights

Vote Now for the Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards
Voting is open now through May 3 for the Children's and Teen Choice Book Awards — the only national book awards program where the winning author, illustrator, and books of the year are selected by young readers. Encourage your child to vote for his favorites today!

Find Today's Newest & Best Children's Books!
Looking for newly released books for your child? Try our new Book Finder tool to search for new books by age, type, and theme, and create reading lists for kids!

8 Products to Help Your Family Go Plastic-Free
How can you minimize your family's exposure to harmful chemicals and lessen your impact on the environment? Try swapping out some of your everyday plastic products with these non-plastic alternatives.

Registered for Kindergarten — Now What?
Wondering what to do now that you've signed your child up for kindergarten? Try our award-winning Kindergarten Readiness app! This easy-to-use checklist comes with games and activities to help your child build essential skills for kindergarten. Download the Kindergarten Readiness app today!

stay connected

Sign up for our free email newsletters and receive the latest advice and information on all things parenting.

Enter your email address to sign up or manage your account.

Facebook icon Facebook icon Follow Us on Pinterest

editor’s picks