Tree farms and Truffle trees

dwheeler at teleport.com dwheeler at teleport.com
Thu Mar 5 00:01:19 EST 1998


In article <19980304210201.QAA09418 at ladder02.news.aol.com>,
  rushwayne at aol.com (RushWayne) wrote:
>
> Dan Wheeler posted his talk on truffle farming for the
> class he is giving for the Clackamas County Farm Forestry
> Association.
>
> On first reading, this is encouraging, but we need better
> information before we can conclude that deliberate
> inoculation of fir groves with truffles can actually
> succeed. (I will be as happy as anyone if it proves true,
> since I am making my own attempts at truffle
> inoculation).
>
> In the case you described of the Georpora "planting,", since
> that species had been found in the area, it is certainly
> possible the mycelium was already present at the site
> where the mature specimen was buried.  Then,
> hormone-like substances from the mature fruiting body
> could well have stimulated fruiting of the resident
> mycelium. This would not amount to the same thing as
> successful inoculation, because  no spore germination
> would be involved.  This interpretation is supported by the
> short period of time (less than one growing season)
> required for the appearance of the second  specimen.
>
First of all, thanks for replying Rush. I wish you well with your inoculation.

Geopora typically is found in spring and fall. Thus, it is possible
inoculation to have taken place. The paucity of sporocarps of this fungi
certainly suggest that.

> Stimulation of existing mycelium could conceivably also
> be involved at Jones Creek farm if there was repeated
> application of pureed fruiting bodies to the area during the
> fruiting season.  However, I am not yet convinced that
> there was an increase of production at Jones Creek above
> what would have occurred naturally during the same time.
>
No inoculation attempt of Geopora has involved "pureed fruiting bodies."

> In the case of the Jones Creek tree farm, the baseline
> collection was done in a drought year.

1986 was not a drought year. The drought began the following year.

  The drought could
> easily have influenced the number of truffles found, as
> well as the species. If production was higher after a
> number of wet years, that would not at all be surprising,
> nor would it be surprising that the most commonly
> collected species changed. What we're missing here is the
> control.  Were there areas of the tree farm left
> uninoculated?

Yes. An area immediately adjacent the inoculated stand has not been
inoculated. That stand has produced few collections of any truffles.

 What happened to production in uninoculated
> areas over the same period of time?
>
The uninoculated area has never produced a Geopora that I am aware of.

Again, Geopora is VERY infrequently collected at Jones Creek Tree Farm. The
number of voucher collections from Jones Creek Tree Farm exceeds several
hundred at a minimum. Of these, only seven collections of Geopora have ever
been confirmed.

> You note that, quote, In 1990, a 6x8 foot area produced .5 pound of Tubers.
> This suggests 453.75 pounds per acre, an
> increase of 978 percent from 1986. Endquote. But what was the production from
> the whole baseline area in June
> of 1990 (or June of other years following the baseline
> collections)?

The baseline data was earlier in the post: in June, 1987 an area 150 feet x 8
feet, or about 1200 square feet produced approximately 1 pounds of Tubers and
4 pounds of Hymenogaster, Rhizopogon, Martellia, Endogone and Barssia.
Extrapolation suggests 36.3 lbs. Tuber and 145.2 lbs. other truffles per acre,
or a total of 181.5 pounds per acre for all species of hypogeous fungi.

 When I went on the NATS foray to this tree
> farm in February of this year, I hunted over a wide area
> and found fewer truffles than I had found in forays to
> comparable but uninoculated sites elsewhere.

I also noted fewer truffles on the surface. However, Paul had disced the
entire stand of inoculated trees to reduce the accumulation of dead branches.
This discing broke the dead branches and allowed people to walk through the
area. However, there are still abundant truffles on the site. I just got done
collection 1.5 pounds from an area of approximately 12 feet x 6 feet: and I
had already collected truffles from this same site earlier in the year.

  As you
> know, truffle harvests can vary enormously from one tree
> to the next, so the production in one small area can't be
> relied upon to estimate the wider harvest.

Indeed. But at least it was a starting point. Few people have assessed ANY
production levels to date.

  Also, you don't
> say whether the tubers found in this small area were
> found all at once,

There were found all at once.

 at the same time of year as your
> baseline collection, or whether they perhaps were
> collected during a different season or over a longer period
> of time.
>
Other collections were done at different times of the year.

> I would suggest caution before concluding that truffle
> inoculation is indeed a commercially reliable venture in
> the Pacific Northwest (your "guarantee" of money back
> if it works notwithstanding!)
> --Rush Wayne
>
To date I have innoculated 5 different sites. All have had significant
increase of production from my baseline data. I have just finished
innoculation of Leucangium carthusiana in Washington. Although the owner
wanted me to innoculate the entire stand (20 acres), I had to tell her there
was little need, since most trees we examined in October, 1997 were already
producing truffles.

I have had one significant lack of production: Leucangium carthusiana
innoculated at Jones Creek Tree Farm in 1995 AND 1996 has not produced a
single sporocarp. This lack of production is significant, since I have
cultivated the fungus in Washington under 17 trees to date. To the best of my
knowledge, these trees had no Leucangium production before innoculation.

I would suggest that without examining the voucher collections of truffles
from Jones Creek Tree Farm, your analysis is flawed.

I wish you could have been present with the 50 people attending the Jan. 3,
1996 forage at Jones Creek Tree Farm before the area was disced. Then you
would have seen first-hand the production of the site.

I have detailed the results of over 12 years of truffle collection and 10
years of cultivation. I suggest this does create baseline data, and a
significant database of production over time. If you have any production data
on your inoculation site, I would be interested in examining it.

Daniel B. Wheeler


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