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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!
Nov 09, 2021
Hi Jane Corley! We only suggest using freshly cut log from live, healthy trees. Logs that have been sitting for a time are likely already host to wild fungi that could outcompete your intention spawn!
Nov 09, 2021
Todd, we would suggest cutting the log into sections, as it would be more manageable for you and not take as long to colonize. You want to let the logs be up off of the ground as well, so it would be best to section them out.
Nov 09, 2021
I want to cut down a white oak for plugs am I required to cut it in 3 to 4 foot sections or can I just leave the tree as it falls lay next to the creek bed and plug the entire tree?
Sep 23, 2021
Hi all — here in Texas we had a horrible freeze in February and I have some 5-inch red oak logs from that. They are a bit dried out. Are they appropriate for Lion’s mane plug spawning, or do I need to contact an arborist and get something newer? TIA!