Plug Spawn Mushroom Inoculations
Mushroom spawning and inoculations are a healthy, ecological way to dispose of unwanted wood waste. Peninsula Horticulture has successfully spawned a number of hardy mushroom species: Reishi, Maitake, Lion's Mane, Shiitake, Pearl, Blue and Phoenix Oyster and Turkey Tail. Some edible, some just for their aesthetics and landscape designs.
Using dowels to inoculate cut hardwood logs or stumps, mushroom mycelium can be encouraged to grow throughout or colonize the wood. Once the wood is fully colonized (typically 9-12 months) mushrooms will spring forth from cracks or channels in the wood. Generally, the best time of year to inoculate logs and stumps is in the Spring, after your last hard frost. However, you can inoculate your logs any time up to 30-45 days before consistently (i.e. 'round the clock) freezing temperatures set in for the Winter. The idea is to allow the mushroom mycelium growing on the Plug Spawn time to establish itself in its new home before it goes into dormancy over the Winter. Logs can be left outdoors over the Winter, under a layer of straw or a burlap tarp, shade cloth or other vapor-permeable cover (do not use plastic tarps: this can cause mold to form). In areas where the Winter is exceptionally harsh, logs can be stored in a shed, barn, garage or other outbuilding.
Plug Spawn grows on recently cut or fallen logs. Milled lumber, rotted wood or trees that have been down for longer than 6 months are not suitable. Logs should be cut to lengths of 3–4 feet, and are best if they do not exceed approximately 8 inches in diameter. Stumps of 6–14 inches in diameter are recommended for stump cultivation. Use a 5/16" drill bit to drill 1¼"-deep holes, evenly spaced around and along the logs. Stumps should be inoculated along the circumference of their face, in the border between the bark and the heartwood. Insert 1 plug per hole and whack it in with a rubber mallet or a hammer. A 3–4 foot log can take 50 or more plugs, while stumps usually hold 30–50 plugs. Holes can be sealed with cheese wax or beeswax to protect the mycelium while it is growing; although this step is helpful, it is not absolutely necessary.
Peninsula Horticulture sources all of our mushroom spawning material through world renowned Fungi Perfecti in Shelton, WA. (Link opens in a new window)
Click here for more information regarding plug spawning. (Link opens a .pdf manual)
Mushrooms are some of nature’s best waste removal systems. We use a variety of mushrooms and mycelium at Peninsula Horticulture to strategically chew up troublesome stumps and enhance the health of desirable trees. Best of all, many useful mushrooms are also delicious!