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Composting Chipped Pine with Mycorrhizae  RSS feed

 
lustrum zaraszkur
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Location: zone 7
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Hello everyone,

Looking for input on the following challenge. A hugelkultur bed was finished with a thick layer of chipped pine from a nearby white pine tree. This mulch layer is causing nitrogen lock up (pine tannins prevent nitrification). Instead of physically removing the mulch layer, I was interested in experimenting with a solution to the "pine mulch problem" by encouraging its decomposition with mycorrhizal inoculation.

Has anyone experimented with using mushrooms to breakdown a mulch layer, such as pine mulch? I was considering inoculating one section with Suillus tomentosus, which, according to Wikipedia, is "a fungus, producing specialized structures, known as tuberculate ectomycorrhizae, with its plant host lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta var. latifolia). These structures have in turn been shown to host nitrogen fixing bacteria which contribute a significant amount of nitrogen and allow the pines to colonize nutrient-poor sites."

Your feedback is welcome!

lustrum
 
David Hartley
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Endo and ecto mycorrhizae form alliances with living host trees...

If the pine mulch you put down is aged/seasoned, and not fresh; I'd suggest Stropharia rugoso-annulata and/or Coprinus comatus for "mulch munchers"

It is probably wise to never use fresh conifers for garden mulch. Though, aged/seasoned conifer should be "okay"
 
lustrum zaraszkur
Posts: 5
Location: zone 7
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Thanks David. That points me in a better direction than using ectomycorrhizal fungi. Using saprotrophic fungi makes much more sense.

I will have to do some research to see if any are suited to the relatively low pH of pine mulch. At this point, the mulch has been "aged" for 3-4 months. I have covered it with a layer of straw and then manure, to encourage a moist environment and to introduce more nitrogen.

 
David Hartley
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It would be ideal with conifers to, at a minimum, allow to fully dry at least once before using. Ideally; twice...

Chip the wood, lay out to get bone dry and distill, rehydrate, then dry once again... When you rehydrate it, soak it with manure
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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I compost pine chips all the time. We make piles around 6ft tall and wider at the base. Wet well and inoculate with EM-1. From there I forget about the pile until its a nice rich humus. No turning involved. In the end it makes excellent compost FULL of fungus. Perfect for top dressing under trees, propagation or amending if you go that route.
 
David Hartley
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I hear ya As I, too, have lived in a coniferous forest (SW coast of Oregon) for the past ten years...

But composting a pile and spreading out on one's garden while still "fresh" are two different things... As I'm sure you know

Manure and/or fungi are my "innoculants" of choice.
 
lustrum zaraszkur
Posts: 5
Location: zone 7
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Jordan Lowery wrote:I compost pine chips all the time. We make piles around 6ft tall and wider at the base. Wet well and inoculate with EM-1. From there I forget about the pile until its a nice rich humus. No turning involved. In the end it makes excellent compost FULL of fungus. Perfect for top dressing under trees, propagation or amending if you go that route.


Jordan,

Given your experience with EM-1, do you feel this method would work in a sheet mulch environment, where the pine chips were spread 2-6 inches deep? I'm very interested in this approach.

As an aside, today I happened across a colony of C. Comatus today, so I lifted the fruiting material (straw) and relocated it to an area with deep pine chips.
 
Jordan Lowery
pollinator
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You can spread it out and add em1 or make piles. Both work.

Keep in mind some plants love raw decomposing pine. Gooseberries top that list IMO, elderberry will grow too and currants.

Once composted you can use it for wherever you want.

I do piles, mulched and pits.
 
lustrum zaraszkur
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Location: zone 7
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Just ordered some EM-1. I will try three experiments and see which is most effective:

1. Inoculate an area of pine chips with a mixture of 1:1:100 EM-1, molasses and water and then cover for two to three weeks with a tarp.
2. Inoculate an area of pine chips with EM-1 and do not cover.
3. Inoculate an area of pine chips with c. Comatus (already done).

I'll see which of these three provides the best results for someone in my situation, where removing the pine mulch is not feasible.
 
Michael-Anthony Laval
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fungi
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lustrum zaraszkur wrote:Just ordered some EM-1. I will try three experiments and see which is most effective:

1. Inoculate an area of pine chips with a mixture of 1:1:100 EM-1, molasses and water and then cover for two to three weeks with a tarp.
2. Inoculate an area of pine chips with EM-1 and do not cover.
3. Inoculate an area of pine chips with c. Comatus (already done).

I'll see which of these three provides the best results for someone in my situation, where removing the pine mulch is not feasible.


Is there an update on this?
 
lustrum zaraszkur
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Location: zone 7
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Yes. In fact, the most effective solution was inoculating the mulch with stropharia rugosoannulata. Edible, too. It digested the mulch in approximately 6-12 months.
 
Michael-Anthony Laval
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lustrum zaraszkur wrote:Yes. In fact, the most effective solution was inoculating the mulch with stropharia rugosoannulata. Edible, too. It digested the mulch in approximately 6-12 months.

Awesome, glad you replied. Did you get a good flush of Kings? If you have a rough estimate of the area of mulch to lbs of mushrooms, or lbs of mulch to lbs of mushrooms, that'd be nice, but I totally get it if that wasn't a priority.
Also, how did you inoculate the area with S. rugosoannulata? (chips, liquid, etc.?)
 
Viola Schultz
Posts: 31
Location: Zone 6 Hudson Valley
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Michael-Anthony Laval wrote:
lustrum zaraszkur wrote:Just ordered some EM-1. I will try three experiments and see which is most effective:

1. Inoculate an area of pine chips with a mixture of 1:1:100 EM-1, molasses and water and then cover for two to three weeks with a tarp.
2. Inoculate an area of pine chips with EM-1 and do not cover.
3. Inoculate an area of pine chips with c. Comatus (already done).

I'll see which of these three provides the best results for someone in my situation, where removing the pine mulch is not feasible.


Is there an update on this?



... I'm confused therefore I'm an American ;0) I thought bacteria is the last choice for the decomposition of lignin. That it is indeed the fungi that do that work beautifully for us.

I know it is an old thread but hope someone clarifies this as I also got a truckload of mixed wood chips, likely more than 50% conifers. It is December already and I just have a huge pile sitting at the bottom of the Northern slope, hopefully catching all the water coming down. I would like to speed up the decomposition and inoculate it but must wait for the Spring now .... It is a huge pile, I have no idea how to go about it but have the whole Winter, so that ain't bad. And I already spread some of them on the naked soil to cover perennials, trees, bushes and some bulbs on the slopes that my land mainly is. Not thick, about an inch maybe two. Am I going to have a problem? Thank you very much for any input
 
Ken W Wilson
Posts: 405
Location: Nevada, Mo 64772
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Since your chip pile is huge I wonder if you could put a block spawn a couple feet down this winter. It's seems like the pile would insulate it a lot.  I'm just speculating though. I haven tried this.
 
Viola Schultz
Posts: 31
Location: Zone 6 Hudson Valley
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yeah, I just did this and some next to the warm compost pile -- more an experiment than anything else. I got some spawn of King Stropharia which supposed to be cold tolerant and can survive up to six months in the fridge ... will let you know if the mycelium made it in the spring. Thanks
 
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