I have a question for you mushroom growers: is cultivating on Willow significantly more difficult that other wood types?
The only reason for this would be that willow 'stays alive' for a long time after its cut. I have access to a huge willow tree that needs frequent pollarding. I had shoots coming off of my willow shiitake, and velvet shank logs for up to 6 months after innoculation. Would anyone with experience expect this to mean the fungi will not be growing, due to the antifungal enzymes present in living logs? The logs have been out for 9 months, and no fruiting yet. I remain hopeful.
The other question would be - is it possible to 'kill' a willow log straight after cutting by soaking it extensively in water? My thinking is if waterlogged for long enough normal biological processes will stop, and innoculation would then be easier. Or are there any other ways to kill it? some kind of heat-treatment?
I agree using any biotrophic fungi would be better suited for living material.
If you stack your willow logs and change out the base (or have an impervious base) while pulling shoots they should die 'relatively' quickly. I've observed oyster mushrooms on dead willow one time, perhaps an easier cultivar for difficult materials.
As you pull shoots off, there comes a time they fail to regrow. Have you observed this yet? A few weeks after this should be prime time for inoculating necrotrophic fungi.
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