Type of wood for growing shitake mushrooms

mooserider(8)March 21, 2012

Hi, I ordered a bunch of mushroom plugs (shitake) from a place in Oregon and from what I read in both their instructions and on the net that oak logs are the best to use. However, I'm having a heck of a time finding free oak logs on craigslist in my area. But I do have a cherry tree log and some alder from this fall that I can use. It sounds like any hard wood will do, but I don't know the pros and cons to using each different type of wood. I.e., I don't know why oak is the best vs other hard woods.

If you have any insight into this, I would greatly appreciate any advice you have!


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jerseytom(z6 Central NJ)

Hi...I came here to ask the same question! But I see nobody has responded. But I do know that White Oak is supposed to be the BEST for growing Shiitake mushrooms. I have a nice White Oak log that was cut last October, but based on what I have read, it needs to be a FRESHLY cut log, so I'm thinking this log is too old. Otherwise, I have no access to White Oak, or any other oak. I may try it on this old log anyway! Can the mushrooms really be that picky and fussy? I have access to plenty of honey locust, Callery pears, white ash, and wild black cherry that I could cut fresh, but these are all listed as unsuitable. I just might experiment on them anyway...what's to lose? Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 31, 2012 at 7:01PM
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Yes most any hardwood log freshly cut can be used to grow mushrooms. Conifer logs such as pine should not be used as the Ph is wrong. Fresh cut should be used as dead logs most likely contain spores of other species of fungi which could reduce your yields. Logs should be placed in a shady area as fungi which are neither plant nor animal do not require sunlight for growth. Keep logs moist not wet.


    Bookmark   April 2, 2012 at 5:37PM
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I've ordered the logs before, and they are (due to state laws) sweet gum. So if you have one of those nearby that would work.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2012 at 12:50AM
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Greetings, I've been growing Shiitakes at home for quite a few years so I'll add my 2 cents. Most any hardwood (not conifer) will work but there are some advantages and disadvantages to consider. Denser wood will give you more bang for the buck because dense wood logs have more food for the mycelium, so over the producing life of a log you will get more mushrooms. Typically, fruit tree wood has a lot of heartwood compared to sapwood and that is not recommended. Some woods are not very dense and you can find lists of these woods that, again, are not recommended. Some lists have questionable entries re: useable or not useable. Look for the wood types that are frequently listed. I used Sweet Gum once and I think it made the mushrooms sweeter...wishful thinking?
If you are able to do so, weigh the logs when they are fresh so you have a reference for the future. As I recall it's best to keep the logs at about 60% of their original moisture content. They will handle considerable variance but too soaked or too dry could limit their production. If you are guestimating moisture content, just don't let the logs dry out. Occasional deep watering is better than frequent light watering...just like in the garden...and for the same reason: you want to water the mycelium deep in the log not the weeds (other spores and contaminates) on top. Keep the logs in the light but out of direct sunlight. All this info is available on-line; my main purpose here is to let folks know about wood choices: most deciduous trees will work, some are a better pay-off than others. One more item, and this is important: you should not use just-cut fresh wood. The tree needs to be rid of it's natural anti-fungal capabilities and that takes 3-4 weeks. So fresh wood, but not brand new. Cut it in the early Spring before all that sugar food goes up into the buds. Here's some of last year's harvest. These logs are getting old; I just cut a tall Oregon Ash today...not super dense, but free.

    Bookmark   March 1, 2015 at 11:03PM
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