mushrooms and trees

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Sat Aug 30 13:11:11 EST 1997

In article <5t7l19$gd6$1 at>,
  Peter Oei <poei at> wrote:
> Who has any experience with mycorrhizal mushrooms on larger sites? Which
> species are used?
> In France and Italy seedlings can bebought with truffle,Suillus and
> Lactarius mycelium. How about the profit margin for sites where trees and
> mushrooms were deliberately planted?
> Peter Oei
> poei at
> P.S. Anybody who would like to grow saprofytic mushrooms can find a
> wealth of information in the book Mushroom Cultivation which I wrote for
> developing countres. It contains many tecniques and species which can be
> grown in temperate regions too. It can be obtained from
> backhuys at for about 30 US$ (depending on the dollar/Dutch
> guilder rate)

I guess you're asking about experiments I have conducted for the past 11
years on private property near Oregon City, Clackamas County, Oregon.

Since learning that mycorrhizal fungi are the fifth requirement to grow
trees (after air, water, suna and soil), I decided that it was time to
learn what The Primary Source says makes up "52-55% of forest biomass" -

To date have cultivated about 25 species, including: Laccaria laccata, L
amethystina-occidentalis; Boletus zelleri, B. chrysenteron; Rhizopogon
parksii, R. vinicolor, R. villosulus, R. villescens, R. zelleri; Tuber
gibbosum, T. californicum, T. canaliculatum, T. giganteum, T.
sphaerosporum or T. spinoreticulatum (not sure which, foul up in
collecting data), T. levissimum, T. sp. nov.; Hymenogaster parksii, H.
sps; Barssia oregonensis; Leucangium (formerly Picoa) carthusiana;
Martellia brunnescens, M. oregonensis; Cantharellus formosa; Calvatia
formosus; Scleroderma hypogaeum, S. laeve, S. aerolatum, S. cepa, S. sp.
nov; and a few others I can't remember right now.

Some of these have more apparent value than the trees they are associated

We are currently selling T. gibbosum and T. giganteum, along with
Leucangium carthusiana over Internet for $100-$180 per pound delivered. I
suspect mostly this if for consumption. Since individual trees have
produced as much as 4.5 pounds per year, this means effective income per
tree of $450-$810 income per tree per year, while increasing the trees
growth rate.

On 2/92 the owner cut a 13-foot tree on the property: unfortunate because
it had been found to be producing many Tubers the previous November. A
22-inch tall 2-2 tree (4 years old) was planted about 3 inches away from
the trunk by February, 1992. We measured the tree. By October, 1992 this
tree was well in excess of 11 feet, using a 10-foot spacing pole as our
measuring device. I estimated the tree had grown 9.5 feet between
February and October. Considering that 1.5-2.5 feet is considered normal
for that tree in this area, this growth was unusual.

I suspect that the roots tied into the existing mycorrhizae of the
previous tree. This existing mycorrhizae allowed the tremendous growth to
occur. For several years after inoculating with Boletus, Rhizopogon,
Hymenogaster, Barssia and Tuber species, most trees in the 2-acre test
plot grew 4-8 feet per year. But since the trees were planted 5-8 feet
apart in a Christmas tree plantation, they are now excessivly crowded.

An unexpected occurance happened 3 years ago. The land owner,
anticipating the need to thin the stand in the future, removed several
entire rows of trees through the stand. Trees were cut 3-4 feet above the
ground, allowing the stumps to be used as inoculated with for Laetiporus
sulphureus, Pleurotus ulmonarius, and Grifola frondosus. Surprisingly,
almost none of the stumps have produced any of these relatively
the past two years, commercial quantities of Tuber species have been
collected from nearly every stump. We can only conclude that most of the
stumps are not yet dead, and that they perhaps have created root links
below the soil surface because of the thickness of the planting. Shared
nutrients have allowed the stumps and their existing roots systems with
mycorrhizae to act as extensions of the trees which have sharing roots.
This would explain why most of the stumps (about 5 of about 300 stumps
have fruited fungi of one species or another) were able to fight off
massive saprophytic fungal inoculations.

Sometimes you learn more about forestry by your mistakes(?) than by your

Daniel B. Wheeler

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