Screening of Native and Exotic Tree Species in Chile for Element Absorption from Dairy Slurry

  • Jaime G. CuevasEmail author
  • Madelaine Quiroz
Research Article


We studied the effect of fertigation with cattle slurry on native and exotic arboreal tree species in Chile. The objectives were to identify the most promising species for buffer strips to mitigate the stream pollution in dairy facilities, to determine where most nutrients accumulate (leaves, stems, or roots), and to test whether the native species are or are not a better biofilter than the exotic ones. We hypothesized that the individuals that were fertilized would have a higher nutrient concentration, nutrient accumulation, and growth than those non-fertilized. N and K concentrations were similar in fertilized trees and in the controls, while the P, Ca, Mg, and Na concentrations were higher in the control than those in the fertilized trees. Most species responded positively to fertilization on a dry matter basis. Luma apiculata, Drimys winteri, and Blepharocalyx cruckshanksii responded to fertilization showing a greater height and diameter growth. Generally, nutrients accumulated in leaves. Overall, the exotic Eucalyptus nitens was the species that accumulated more nutrients given its large growth rate. The native species that more commonly stood out in this study were D. winteri, Nothofagus dombeyi, and L. apiculata. In general, a minor proportion of the applied slurry was absorbed by trees, and we recommend the use of trees in biofilters as a complement to crop and pasture absorption.


Andisol Dairy slurry Nutrient sinks Plant nutrition Trees 



We especially thank Prof. Juan E. Schlatter for providing many useful orientations for the development of this paper. We also thank the Santa Rosa Experimental Station staff for their help, especially the administrators Rodrigo Barriga and Carlos Villagra. Logistic support was provided by César Leiva, César Lemus, and Jenny Huertas. Mr. Leonardo Alarcón is acknowledged for taking the soil samples, as well as Mr. Carlo Guggiana who designed an Excel® macro used for statistical tests. Miss Yasmín Bolados helped with some analyses. The Garden Unit of the Universidad Austral de Chile also contributed with grass maintenance. Finally, we would also like to acknowledge the valuable comments made by three anonymous reviewers.

Funding Information

Funding was provided by the Fondecyt grant 1110156.


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Copyright information

© Sociedad Chilena de la Ciencia del Suelo 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Zonas Áridas (CEAZA)La SerenaChile
  2. 2.Centro de Investigación en Suelos Volcánicos (CISVo)Universidad Austral de ChileValdiviaChile
  3. 3.Departamento de Gestión AgrariaUniversidad de Santiago de ChileSantiagoChile

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