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How to inoculate mushroom logs

It is that time of year again! It is time to start thinking about plugging logs. Here is a basic break down of inoculating mushroom logs.

1) What makes a good log:

  • Logs must be cut from healthy living trees.

  • No rot at all on tree.

  • Be prepared to plug logs anywhere from 1 week to 2 months after the tree was felled.

  • Best to cut while the tree is dormant.

  • Keep the bark undamaged and as intact as possible.

  • Keep the logs clean and off the ground by stacking them on a crate or scraps of wood.

*Always have permission from the property owner if you are taking a tree that is not on your land!

2) What tree species to use?

In general, oak is one of the most versatile host wood and will grow most mushrooms. Specific mushrooms will have certain host species that they grow better on. You can inoculate some mushrooms on almost any tree species but be sure to avoid black locust, apple, cedar, and Osage orange. Lion's Mane are the only culinary mushroom that will grow on Black walnut. If you end up with softer woods, such as tulip poplar, we recommend trying out some oyster varieties. For more specific check out this fact sheet.

3) The supplies you will need are:

  • A drill

  • Wax - soy, bees, or cheese are all acceptable- we use this cheese wax

  • A place to soak logs for 12/24 hours

    If using sawdust spawn you will need:

If using plug spawn you will need

4) How to inoculate the log

  1. Start drilling holes two inches from the end of the log about six inches apart from each other.
  2. For Sawdust Spawn: Drill holes 1⁄2” deep. Inset inoculation plunger in sawdust and then plunge in to the drilled holes. 
  3. For Plug Spawn: Drill holes 1 1⁄4” deep. Insert plug spawn in to the drilled holes.
  4. Cover all holes and damaged bark areas with wax.
  5. Soak logs in water for 12/24 hours and then set them in a shady place, off the ground.
  6. Make sure your logs stay moist though out the year water logs if there is extended period without rain.

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