Biowastes to augment the essential oil production of Leptospermum scoparium and Kunzea robusta in low-fertility soil
Biowastes are unwanted materials of biological origin. They include biosolids, dairy shed effluent, and sawdust. When applied to soil, biowastes can provide plant nutrients, but also introduce heavy metals, pathogens, or xenobiotics. Biowastes could improve degraded or low-fertility soils and generate revenue through the production of non-food products such as essential oils. We grew New Zealand native plants, mānuka (Leptospermum scoparium J.R. Forst & G. Forst) and kānuka (Kunzea robusta de Lange & Toelken) in series of greenhouse experiments in low-to-medium-fertility soils (Bideford clay loam, Lismore stony silt loam, and Pawson silt loam) amended with either biosolids (up to 13500 kg N ha−1 equiv.), biosolids + sawdust (1:0.5–1250 kg N ha−1 equiv.) and dairy shed effluent (200 kg N ha−1 equiv.). Two types of biosolids from Kaikoura (KB) and Christchurch City Council (CB) were used in the experiments. CB (1500 kg N ha−1 equiv.) and dairy shed effluent (200 kg N ha−1 equiv.) increased the biomass of L. scoparium by up to 120% and 31%, and K. robusta by up to 170% and 34%, respectively.