shiitake sawdust spawn for mushroom log inoculation Canada

Choosing Mushroom Logs

Many edible and medicinal mushrooms can be grown on a variety of freshly cut trees.  Select the right type of tree that is suitable for the  type of mushroom you would like to grow. 

Most cultivated species, like oyster and shiitake, grow on hardwood logs from deciduous trees such as maple, oak, and alder.  A few cultivated species, such as Hericium abietis, grow on coniferous trees.

The logs you inoculate must be from a tree that has freshly fallen or been recently cut down.   (Dead wood that is aged more than a couple months will already be colonized by competitor mushroom species.)

The best time to harvest a tree is in the late winter time, because the sugar content is highest and the bark tends to stay on the log longer.

Planting Your Plug Spawn

Cut logs into 3 or 4ft lengths for easy handling, and drill a row of holes just over an inch deep, about 6inches apart, using an 8mm (5/16 inch) drill bit.  Rotate the log and start another row about 2 inches away.  Alternate the holes to form a diamond pattern like this:

–   –   –   –

–   –   –   –   –

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Planting mushroom logs with plug spawn BC Canada
Planting mushroom logs with plug spawn BC Canada

Tap your plug into the hole, then cover with melted wax (bees, cheese or soy wax) using a small paint brush or wool dauber.

Cover inoculation sites with melted soy wax Canada

The Waiting Game

Place your logs outdoors in a moist shady area, raised off the ground, and exposed to rain.  Mushroom logs can generally survive the icy cold of winter, but should not be kept in the direct summer sun.

It’s important to keep your logs well hydrated.  The best way to hydrate a log is to soak it overnight (12-24h) submerged in cold water.

Alternatively, if you use a sprinkler, water for several hours once a week.  Watering just a little bit daily is not helpful as it will contribute to premature rotting of the bark and not effectively penetrate inside the log.

In 6 months to 2 years your log will fruit naturally for the first time.  How long depends on factors such as the mushroom species, tree species, diameter of log and your climate.

Forest-grown shiitake on logs Vancouver Island BC Canada