Saved science fair projects:

This is a saved copy of the relevant third party website. We save only the first page of every project because we've found that the third party sites are often temporarily down. We do not save all pages of the project because copyright belongs to the third party author.

Do Deicers Affect Radish Survival?
Picture of the student researcher

Researched by Jennifer R.


The purpose of this experiment was to determine how different deicers affect the survival of radishes. 

I became interested in this idea when I was in second grade and I was helping my dad put salt on our icy driveway. I wondered if I put salt on a plant, would it melt too? Now as a 6th grader I have the opportunity to find that out.

The information gained from this experiment could be used by farmers and gardeners to help select, when needed, the deicer least harmful to their plants. 


My hypothesis was that the amount of living radishes would be less if any deicer was applied to them. 

I base my hypothesis on the Dictionary of Science which says, "Saline soil, which is salt polluted soil, can, and most likely will stop plant growth." 
(Pg. 572)

Top of page


The constants in this study were:

* The type of radish (Cherry Belle)
* The amount of soil in each planter (1 cm from rim)
* The kind of soil (Commercial grade.)
* The amount of water each plant received (5ML.)
* The amount of light the radishes were exposed to (12 hours)
* The temperature at which the plants grew (16°C.) or (60°F.)
* The type of planter (plastic)
* The size of planter
* The depth at which the seed is planted (1cm.)
* The amount of each deicer applied
* The manner in which the deicer is applied

The manipulated variable was the kind of deicer added to the experimental groups.

The responding variable was the change in the amount of living radishes two weeks after each deicer was applied. 

To measure the responding variable I counted the living radishes. 

Top of page

40 Containers Planters
3 Packages Radishes
1 Bag Potting soil
50 Grams Rock salt
50 grams Calcium Chloride
50 grams Magnesium Sulfate
1 Graduated Cylinder
1 Triple beam balance
1 Florescent light w/timer
3000mL Tap water

Top of page


Gathering Materials
1.Get 1 florescent light with a timer.
2.Suspend light from chair 50 cm from floor. 
3.  Get 40 plastic containers. 
4. Separate into 4 groups of 10.
5.  Label one group as " Control Group." 
6.  Label the other 3 groups "Experimental Groups 1-3."
Conducting Experiment
7.   Fill each of the containers 1 cm from the top with commercial grade potting soil.
8.   Place 1 cherry belle radish in each of the containers, one 1cm deep.
9.  Label two, ML measuring, syringes "Syringe A" and "Syringe B".
10.  Measure 50 grams of each deicer and separately dissolve each one in 1000ML. of H20. 
11.  Apply 5mL. of each deicer solution to their specific group, every other day, using "Syringe A". 
 12. Continue to water "control group" 5ML. of normal, un-salt polluted water, using "Syringe B". 
 13. Make sure that the temperature remains around 16°c.
 14. Make sure each radish gets at least 12 hours of fluorescent light every day. 
Recording Results
15.  2 weeks after applying the deicer solution to the radishes count all of the remaining radishes.
16.  See also if there has been any strange side affects. 
17.  Record all results and side affects. 

Top of page


The original purpose of this experiment was to determine how different deicers affect the survival of radishes.

The results of the experiment were that magnesium sulfate was the deicer that had the most negative affect on the radishes, followed by salt, being the second most harmful, and then calcium chloride, being the least damaging. The control group still had all 10 radishes standing by the time the experiment was over. 

See data and graphs.


My hypothesis was that the amount of living radishes would be less after each deicer was applied.

The results indicate that this hypothesis should be accepted because all but 1 of the experimental group radishes died. 

Because of the results of this experiment, I wonder if some plants will become resistant to ice-controlling substances. 

If I were to conduct this project again instead of just using 2 syringes, 1 for the control group and 1 for all 3 of the deicers, I would have used 4, 1 for the control group and 1 for each deicer. I would also have gotten more deicers to test. I would have used many more plants and I would have repeated the entire experiment a 2nd or 3rd time. 

Top of page

Research Report

 Plants play a very essential role in the survival of living organisms. Many gardeners as well as farmers grow plants, which are an important part of a healthy diet. Ice-removal substances can be harmful to plants, including radishes.

Pollution is an expanding problem and a threat to many living things today, including plants.  Ice-removal substances can be one of the many types of pollutants affecting plants. One of the most common ice-removing substances is rock salt or sodium chloride, supposedly the most harmful deicer to plants. When sodium chloride mixes with or soaks into soil it creates saline soil, which is salt polluted soil. If a plant is currently living in the soil, the salt will be sucked up through the plant’s transport system. It could eventually kill the plant occupying the soil.  Calcium chloride is a more environmentally safe deicer, which became more widely used when sodium chloride was causing too much pollution. There is also another deicer called magnesium sulfate, there is not much information on magnesium sulfate.

 Plants are living organisms that produce their own food. This process is called photosynthesis. Photosynthesis is a very complicated process. Leaves are the main place in which photosynthesis takes place. Inside of every leaf there is a chemical called chlorophyll. Chlorophyll enables a plant to use energy from light to produce food. 
Water, light, and carbon dioxide are all needed for a plant to go through photosynthesis. If plants don’t photosynthesize enough they will eventually die.

 Plants have many different, but important, parts. First of all there are the leaves. The leaves are essential to plants because they are mainly where photosynthesis takes place. Another thing that goes on in the leaves of a plant is transpiration, which is the loss of water caused by evaporation. The next part is the stem, which is also very important because it is the main support for the plant. The stem also makes up a part of the plant’s transport system, which absorbs nutrients and supports transpiration. The other part of the transport system is the leaves. Another fundamental part of a plant are its roots. The roots of a plant hold it in the soil and absorb nutrients and water for the plant. 

 There are two types of plants, vascular plants and non-vascular. Non-vascular plants usually don’t grow more than 20 cm. Tall, while vascular plants can be hundreds of feet tall. On the inside of vascular plants there is a xylem and a phloem layer. Xylem tissues carry nutrients and water up the plant while phloem tissues carry the water and nutrients up and also take the waste and food down. Non-vascular plants make food the same way vascular plants do except for the fact that they do not have a phloem or xylem layer. They usually live in moist areas.

 Plants are usually categorized by how long or how many growing seasons they live. The categorization for a plant living only one growing season is an annual. Annuals grow from a seed, produce flowers, create new seeds, and die. A plant that lives for two growing seasons is a biennial. Biennials grow roots, stems, and leaves during the first growing season. When winter arrives the leaves and stem die, but the roots stay alive. During the second growing season the plant grows a new stem and leaves, as well as flowers and seeds. After the plant produces seeds it dies. Plants that live for more than two growing seasons are called perennials. In cool seasons perennials go through a stage of dormancy. The leaves fall from the branches and the plant is bare until a warmer season. Plants that lose their leaves are called deciduous. Deciduous plants are usually trees or bushes. 

 People use plants in many ways.  Some of them are food, useful drugs, medicine, fiber, pigment and basic material for making different things. Probably plants are most used as food. Some medications made from plants were used hundreds of years ago. For example, dried leaves from the purple foxglove plant helped to treat heart problems. Also certain kinds of bark were used to treat malaria and various different other diseases.

 Radishes are a type of plant grown for their fleshy root. They were introduced in the early 16th century after they had been developed from a wild plant that grew in Asia. Radishes belong to the mustard family. There are many types of radishes. A few examples of them are Cherry Belles, Scarlets, Scarlet White Tips, Scarlet Globes, White Icicles, Champions, French Breakfasts, and many more. They can be round, oblong or even pointy and can weigh from 1 ounce to up to 2 pounds. Their scientific name is Raphanus sativus. Most radishes are either annuals or biennials. Radishes usually grow the best in moist soil. They grow the fastest in the spring and the slowest in the winter. It’s peculiar that they grow the slowest in the winter because most radishes can germinate as low as 50°F, and they take anywhere from 7 to 14 days to germinate but should be harvested anywhere from 25 to 30 days after germination.

 Pollution is a dangerous thing for plants as well as humans and other animals. People need to become aware of the threat posed by pollution, including saline soil caused by deicers. 

Top of page


Aasing, Nathan. Meat Eating Plants. Springfield: Enslow Publishers, 1986.

Burnie, David. Plants. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1989. Pp. 6,8,19. 

Cezairliyan, Ared. "Heat." World Book Encyclopedia. 1999.

"Deicers." 11/14/01 <http://www.snow

Hughes, George. "Radish." World Book Encyclopedia . 1999.

Knapp, Mark."Kinetic Energy." Young Scientist Dictionary . 1995

Mertus, John. "Radishes." 11/21/01  <

Michelle, William. "Plant." World Book Encyclopedia. 1999

Parker, Sybil. "Saline Soil." Dictionary of Science. 1989

"Radishes." 11/14/01 <

"Road Management." 11/14/01 <

Walter, Dean. "Salt." World Book Encyclopedia. 1999.

* I would like to thank the following people. Without their help my project would not have been possible…
* My mother for coming and getting all of my equipment and for taking care of my radishes while I was in Wenatchee.
* My dad for giving me the money I needed to buy my display board and journal.
* Mrs. Hostetler for teaching me enough about science to do my project without her help. 
* Mrs. Helms for helping me with my journal.
* Mr. Newkirk for helping me with literally EVERYTHING!!!
* My very best friend Justine for always being there to help me and give me advice. 


Top of page

Menu of 2001-2002 Science Projects

Back to the Selah Homepage

Search for more science fair projects
Search science fair projects Browse science fair projects
or Ask the Mad Scientist for help with your Science Project

All Science Fair Projects