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You've decided to grow mushrooms this season but now you have to figure out how you're going to do it. Maybe you've already found a place in your garden or farm where you're going to place your logs but what about choosing which species of tree to use?
Mushrooms are flexible organisms and are able to grow on a variety of trees. Most edible mushrooms, and all but one of North Spore's strains, grow on deciduous hardwood trees. We don't recommend using coniferous wood unless you're cultivating Hemlock Reishi (Ganoderma tsugae). Italian oyster (Pleurotus pulmonarius) can grow on some Pine family trees, though flushes will be smaller or less frequent than on hardwoods.
While mushrooms are able to grow on most deciduous tree species, some are more suited to mushroom cultivation than others. Each mushroom species has a preferred type of wood and matching the mushroom to the correct log species will produce a higher or more consistent yield. Oaks and hard maples are the preferred wood-types for most mushroom species because they're very dense and offer plenty of nutrition for a longer, sustained fruiting period.
Poplars and other soft hardwoods will colonize faster and produce mushrooms sooner but generally don’t yield as much or produce for as many years. That being said, oyster mushrooms will be more successful on poplars and aspens than oaks or maples.
The list below is our guideline based on North Spore's particular strains and we encourage you use whatever wood is most accessible to you. And don't be afraid to try a wide range of species or ones not listed. There's still many combinations to be tried and learn from! You could get varying results in yield but you may be surprised by the resiliency of the fungi kingdom.
Once you've decided on the species of tree to inoculate, be sure you have access to fresh wood. Logs should be inoculated within 4 weeks of cutting. If you wait longer, your mycelium will have to outcompete the other fungi that have already started colonizing the log.
For full instructions on different methods of inoculating logs, head to our Walkthrough Page.
If you need help figuring out how much spawn to use, check out our Log Inoculation Calculator!
Aug 04, 2021
Brian Daly, you always want to make sure that any wood you use for log inoculation is fresh and healthy! If the tree that was blown over isn't diseased or compromised, you could certainly try it out. Oysters are one example of a mushroom variety that would like to grow in willows. You can use either sawdust spawn or plug spawn, they do have a couple differences! You can always write into us anytime if you have specific product questions at infonorthspore.com, we are always happy to help!
Aug 04, 2021
I had a giant curly leaf willow blow down a few weeks ago , can I grow oyster mushrooms on this tree ? If so what type of inoculant should I go with?
Apr 12, 2021
@Philippe Kelty and @Dave Osborn – Good observation. When making the chart we looped poplars into the aspen category as they are the same genus, Populus. They can all be treated similarly and are a favorite of oysters! Tulip poplar, Liriodendron tulipifera, however is in its own category.
Per growing on walnut: We are more familiar with mushroom cultivation on black walnut, though it’s quite possible that other Juglans spp. trees will have similar pairings or aversions. Lots of room to try out how they’ll do! For folks who don’t want to experiment, use lion’s mane on black walnut. @Lloyd Thomas
@Tom Nagy – Thanks for the share! Yes, Laetiporus sulphureous is perhaps most commonly found on oaks but will grow on other hardwoods. Since it’s already a pretty tough type to cultivate, we’re only sure that it will work on oaks. It’s a great idea to take a wild culture and grow it out on the woods you’ve seen it appear on. If you try it out, we’re all ears to hear more! So much for us all to learn, still. And thank you for the kind words :)
@John & @Josh Unfortunately, no great recommendations for growing mushrooms on cedar. Conifers with their aromatic and resinous wood are pretty resistant to wood decay fungi. Hemlock reishi is your best bet if you’re willing to experiment.
@Ken Reinhard Not that we know of… yet! There also may be species of mushrooms more suited to those woods from bioregions they’re native to. Would be curious to hear more.
@E P – Definitely worth doing some trials. If anyone wants to take lead on that project, sounds like a perfect proposal for our Research Partners Program https://northspore.com/pages/research-partners?pos=1&_sid=656ef7f28&ss=r
@David Rudolph Depending on the size of your logs, you may get your first fruits this spring from last year’s logs. It often takes 12 months or more before the wood is myceliated enough to produce. Love that you’re making use of those downed trees! Great idea.
@Charles Sternburgh We’re working on getting more information out about growing in your area! Heat loving species like pink and golden oysters, and almond agaricus will be great to try out. Grow in beds, or containers. Golden oysters can be grown on logs, too! Your main seasons for growing will be fall through spring, before the peak of heat in the summer. And stay tuned for some more hot weather growing tips. :)
@Casey Romo Wow! Very cool. We don’t know of anyone growing on monkey pods yet, but since they’re related to mimosa it’s worth trying Ganoderma luciduum and I bet that oysters will also do well! It looks like the University of Hawaii did some trials of growing P. ostreatus on another mimosa clade trees and had great success.
@Jill London Sorry to miss you – yes March is a great time to inoculate for NoCal and there’s a lot of great options for oaks including: shiitake, lion’s mane, named, and chestnut.
@Johnathan c hafner Yes, inoculating straw beds in early summer is a good time. If you live in a very hot place, golden or pink oysters may fare better.
@Roland Hornbeam is an awesome choice for shiitake, lion’s mane, and nameko
@Sigrid We’ve updated the chart to include more species – let us know if you any that aren’t on the list that you’re curious about.
@Tamera M Sheets – Wow, so kind. I think the mushrooms that are being looked at to support bees and fighting colony collapse are Reishi and amadou – so try out Reishi!
@Sunil Neupane yes, you can grow shiitake on eucalyptus. The productivity and yield will depend on your log size. The general rule of thumb is one year of production per inch of log diameter. Shiitake logs usually have their largest flushes during their second and third years producing. A good yield per log is ¼ – ½ pound each flush, with 2-3 flushes per season.
@Kevin N. Sounds like you’d like to take a wild culture, very cool. There’s a few approaches: take a spore print and grow out a culture from the spores, clone from some inner tissue, or make a cardboard burrito with torn up bits of the mushroom and damp cardboard. Once you’ve got a strong culture growing, you can move it on to another substrate and there’s lots of options for oysters as very vigorous growers. Try beds, containers, or logs.
Apr 12, 2021
I do not see mushroom species comparability with Poplar a tree species quite prevalent here in the Maine woods . ???