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Mushroom log harvest time & moisture content

 
Posts: 210
Location: Mason Cty, WA
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After posting this thread a couple months ago, I'm looking to inoculate some lion's mane (spawn), reishi (plug), shiitake (plug) into maple logs. I can't find a straight answer on whether it's better to harvest the logs in fall or spring, "two weeks before bud break". Sources only seem to agree on dormancy.

I cut down some logs in Jan, they've been up off the ground for our uncharacteristically cold, dry winter: that's >2 weeks of around 25F and very little rainfall, then in episodes instead of the usual daily drizzle, though in February we had a surprising 20" of snow. I've got other logs that were on the ground, likely more dusted with spores?

I felled a couple trees and put my face to the fresh-cut wood, then did the same with the November harvest logs. There was very little difference in moisture using that highly scientific assay. Further, these trees are definitely breaking bud.

So which trees are likely better media: cut last fall, or cut just now at bud break (then aged 2 weeks)? Probably neither is ideal. If no clear answer I'll try both and post the answers only if interesting, or requested.
 
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I would prefer the fresh cut, 2 week seasoned logs for all three species.
Mycelium grows in the cambium layer and sap wood, not the heart wood and you will not get mushrooms (fruits) until the mycelium is fully developed so plan on inoculating as soon as last frost is past and plan to harvest either the early-miid fall or next spring.
My lion's mane took 13 months to get ready to fruit, the logs are 8 inches in diameter and 3 feet long, white oak and hickory are what I use.
I have Reishi growing in 3 foot tall hickory stumps and they should fruit this year (inoculated last spring).
Shitake will grow this spring, summer and fruit this fall, depending on the size of the logs and how many plugs you install.

Hope that helps you out.

Redhawk
 
Fredy Perlman
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Thanks Doc RedHawk! I can fell those extra maples today without their getting any further along.

Fun to think of inoculating my 32" tree stumps, the next time I drop one...
 
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I agree with Redhawk, 2 to 3 weeks after cutting, if you wait to long it gives other species a chance to take over. I just checked my logs that are 7 or maybe 8 years old and still getting shiitake's. Check it out on my video  https://youtu.be/jlOKMbIugLQ

Good luck with your fun-guy and God bless.
 
William Egan
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Also I was thinking maybe the best time to cut a mushroom log would be early in the spring just when the sap starts to flow, just like maple syrup season, wouldn't it have its highest sugar content. If its budding the sap is already turning to starch to feed the buds. Fungi loves sugar right? Thats why you can burn wood to preserve it, sho shugi bon or whatever the Japanese call it, it burns the sugar up near the surface anyway and fungus cannot live. Just my thoughts, I'm no expert, just sounds right to me.

Have a good day all and God bless.
 
Bryant RedHawk
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Spring is not a great time to harvest a mushroom log, the reason is that the bark is loosest at the start up of sap flow up the phylum, this makes it easy to break the bark loose from the actual wood.
I like to wait until full leaf out to start harvesting trees for mushroom logs so the bark is once again held tight to the wood, it prevents the possibility of spore contamination.

Sugars are more the food of bacteria not mycelium, mycelium eat lignin for the most part, that is why most mushrooms found in the woods are on dead wood, not living trees.

Redhawk
 
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