- Sawdust Spawn Inoculation Methods
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Sawdust Spawn Inoculation Methods
Download our Sawdust Spawn pamphlet here.
Uses 3-4' sections of log 4-6'' in diameter. The preferred method for Shiitake, Reishi, and Chicken of the Woods, but can be used with Oysters and Lion's Mane.
- Cut living tree trunks or large branches into 3-4' lengths.
- Drill holes in an equally spaced diamond pattern around the entire log. Drill holes 6'' apart, about 1'' deep, in a row running the entire length of the log. Move about 2-3'' around the log and drill another row, with the holes 3'' offset, creating a diamond pattern. Repeat, drilling a row of holes down the length of the log, around the entire log. It's okay if the rows are a little uneven. For sawdust spawn use a 7/16'' bit (12mm).
- Inoculate each hole. For sawdust spawn, tightly pack sawdust into the inoculation tool and inject the spawn into each 7/16'' diameter hole, completely filling the hole.
- Cover each hole with melted wax using a brush, wax dauber, paintbrush or rag. Eventually, after the log is colonized, wax will flake off. Beeswax or food-grade paraffin work well. Using a crockpot is a great way of keeping the wax melted while applying it to your logs.
- Incubate logs in a shady place, close to the forest floor but not in contact with soil or leaf litter. Lay down tracks of scrap wood that elevate the logs 1-2'' above the forest floor. Stack the logs in a layer with a little space for airflow between each log. If you have more logs, you can make multiple layers by off-setting each layer by 90°. Keep the stack lower than the average snow line, as the snow cover protects the logs from dry winter winds. Generally no special care is needed while the mycelium grows throughout the log, but watering may be needed if excessively dry weather occurs.
- Re-stack the logs into a log cabin fashion for increased air flow and ease of mushroom picking, about a year after inoculation. Log cabin stacks can be as high as 5' in wetter climates but in dry climates shorter stacks, closer to the ground, help keep logs moist. Fruiting naturally occurs after rains, and occurs in cycles. After the log has fruited once on its own, it can be stimulated to fruit by watering or soaking it in cold water for 24 hours. If it has recently fruited, forcing will probably not work.
Smaller sections of logs are stacked upright with sawdust spawn sandwiched between the sections of log. Large-diameter wood becomes easy to use and attractive to display. The preferred method for Oyster Mushrooms and Lion's Mane. No special tools are needed.
- Cut three sections of log for each totem: one piece only 1-3'' long, and two sections 12-18'' long.
- Bring your setup to your planned incubation place and create totems on site.
- Open a contractor-size black plastic bag, sprinkle a layer of sawdust spawn about 1'' deep in the bottom of the bag, and stand one of the 12-18'' logs upright on top of the spawn. Make another layer of sawdust spawn on top of it, and place the second 12-18'' log on top of that. Create a third layer of sawdust spawn of top of the second log and then cap the totem with the 1-3'' piece.
- Wrap the plastic bag up around the inoculated totem, securing the top loosely with a strip of cloth or a rubber band, positioned in such a way that an opening allows for some air exchange but does not allow rain water to enter the bag.
- Incubate the covered totems for 4-12 months. When the logs are covered with a visible layer of mushroom mycelium, the plastic bag can be removed. The totem can be left intact or broken up into individual sections for fruiting.
Any size stumps can be inoculated but they should be located in a shady environment. Make sure you know what species of tree the stump came from! Stumps take a while to colonize but will produce for up to a decade.
- Use a 12mm bit and drill 1’’ holes all over the top, sides, and exposed roots of the stump.
- Use inoculation tool to push sawdust spawn into the holes.
- Brush melted paraffin or beeswax over each plugged hole. We use a crockpot to melt the wax and a paint brush to apply it!