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 walk-through page.
If you need help figuring out how much spawn to use, check out our Log Inoculation Calculator!
46 Replies to "Which Species of Log is Best?"
Those who practice arboriculture are called arborists. Arborists encompass both the physical skills and the knowledge needed to successfully care for trees.
Nicolas, we always tell folks they can experiment with other species and logs than what is on the chart, but that is what we have tried and had success with. We are happy to help if you would like to email us firstname.lastname@example.org (:
Hi! nice table, but are you sure oak is not good for oysters? Thanks!
Jennifer Coverdale it should work! (:
Any experience growing oysters or shiitakes on Norway maple? :)
Hey there! Fruit trees arent the best option for mushroom cultivation but we usually recommend oyster varieties as an experiment because they are so aggressive. Let us know how it goes!
What about Apple tree/wood? I have some old apple tree’s that are still standing but dead. I’d love to put some shiitake plugs in them. Would this work? I don’t see apple tree’s on the list…
Dave – you want to use freshly cut logs within the last few weeks for best results.
Log age is very important – we recommend inoculating logs within a month of cutting. This allows the cells in the tree to die but is not long enough for the log to dry out or for other competitor fungi to become established. A month would be about the longest reasonable stretch of time between cutting and inoculating.
didn’t work very well for me but it was pretty old wood so it could have been that
I dont have access to freshly fallen/cut tree branches/logs…I see some kiln dried split birch and elm at my local hardware store. If I soaked then and then innoculated with dowel spawn, do you think it would fruit at some point?
I have pines in my yard and I have natural mushrooms growing every season change.my question is I live in Illinois and I want to do morels in the same area since other types grow naturally wouldn’t this be a prime spot to start the morels too?
I would like to have information on growing mushrooms commercially in East Texas if you have it or could inform me wo are the experts I can contact. I am inquiring at the Texas A&M University as well, Thanks for your response. Many mushroom attributes are very appealing to me and if they can in fact, be grown commercially successfully in Texas that would be terrific .
Has anyone ever tried using a jacaranda for shiitakes??
Oyster mushrooms seem to love decaying pecan wood.
Had a huge pecan tree get struck by lightning about 3.5 years ago. It fell two weeks after it was struck. Started producing oysters about a year into the decay process and hasnt stopped.
I split some of the more fungal examples and put them in my green house in a 5 gallon bucket. Kept damp, it ended up producing. Im aplitting some more pieces off of it as we speak.
Central Georgia-Zone 7
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!
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.
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?
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!
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!
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?
@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.
I do not see mushroom species comparability with Poplar a tree species quite prevalent here in the Maine woods . ???
Any suggestions for cedar?
You talk about Italian oysters and poplars in the paragraph above but poplars are not included in the chart. Also, walnut is in the chart for lions mane but you don’t list it as black or English walnut which are very different trees. Can you make any updates?
Hey! This is a great resource, thanks so much. Definitely something that I plan on sharing within my network. I am a small scale commercial producer of mushroom spawn and grow kits in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
At least in this area, Laetiporus sp. seem to grow from both oak and ash just as often as the other. I’m not sure if this is a local phenotype that is more adatpable to both host species than in other localities, but seeing ash listed as blank under your list for host species of chicken of the woods reminded me of these observations.
Just thought I would share my findings. I’ve never tried to culture and grow chicken of the woods – but if I was going to I would likely take a sample from one of the fairly common specimens that appear in parks in gardens throughout the summer so as to have a local strain that knowingly prefers either ash or oak. Keep up the great work! You are all an inspiration and contribute greatly to the mycological network here in North America and beyond. Cheers!
Inoculated some ailanthus logs with blue oysters and also lion’s manes recently. Will let y’all know if they work out well.
Has anyone had any experience growing mushrooms on logs from olive or pomegranate trees? If so, what sort of mushrooms? Thanks!
Ditto to the question about Black Walnut! If you do some testing on this species, you will be the leading authority on the internet – I can’t find info on Black Walnut and fungiculture anywhere!
What are the best mushrooms to grow on Cedar?
I have lots of Black Walnut trees on my property, has anyone tried inoculating them?
I’ve plug some Maple logs just before the tree budded last March after a storm with your shitaki plugs then waxed them up. No action yet.
With confidence bought more north spore shitaki plugs and wax and plugged a dozen oak log that fell this winter. Hope to see some action this fall.
Can’t wait to hear from you
Looking forward to trying your products
Im interested in growing Mushrooms outdoors but I live in zone 8 so its v very hot and humid looking for the best advice of what type to grow and how Thanks Charlie
I just cut down a large Monkey Pod tree (Samanea saman) and pushed the large trunk into a shady area. I live in Kauai temp varies from 60-80 degrees f. What can I grow with this setup?
Hi, In september I bought a few items from you including an inoculation tool. Several large alive oaks fell on property after a big snow. We cut the branches, 6" diameter into 5’ lengths. I watched the video about harvesting wood and I think that I could plug them soon with spawn. I am in Northern California and I’m wondering if this is an ok time to inoculate. I would like to take advantage of your sale. Please let me know your thoughts about the best to try on the oak branches. thanks, jill
Wow I’m glad i read this before my purchase :( heartbroken I can’t grow chicken without oak, but better find out now than be disappointed in 12 months!
Is it ok to inoculate straw beds with oysters early summer
Any recommendations what species can be grown on Hornbeam logs and Hornbeam wood-chips (Carpinus betulus)
Thanks in advance
What about west coast species of trees? Hardly any of the species you recommend for logs to use grow out here…. Do you have west coast pnw recommendations. Western Washington more specifically.
I’m looking for mushrooms to grow to help my backyard bees thrive. Do you have any knowledge of which mushrooms bees like best, and which will help them fight toxins best?
is eucalyptus tree logs good to grow sitake mashroom ? how many years we can get product from same logs. what is the average percentage to grow sitake in eucalyptus logs.(thank you)
I found a few wild logs with oysters and decided to take them home and grow my own. What’s the best way to replicate the environment in which they grow, and is this a proven method for fruiting your own mushrooms? Thank you for your time and all the knowledge offered!
Hi Ron, I would hold off on inoculating any beds until you get that delivery of maple chips. At that point you could probably inoculate Wine Cap, Oyster Mushrooms, or Nameko using grain or sawdust spawn. Having the maple chips over the others shouldn’t matter at all as long as they stay in a shady and moist location. Hope this helps!
Hi, I’m a rookie with a question (several really). I have a rather large and long pile of Austrian line chips i n a moist and shady area. Can I use this area to cultivate any mushrooms or should I just write it off. I have a truckload of maple chips coming soon. Could I place a thick layer of them over the line chips and proceed from there? Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.😊😊
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