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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!
Apr 12, 2021
I do not see mushroom species comparability with Poplar a tree species quite prevalent here in the Maine woods . ???
Apr 12, 2021
Any suggestions for cedar?
Apr 12, 2021
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?
Apr 10, 2021
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!