Tree farms and Truffle trees

RushWayne rushwayne at aol.com
Sat Mar 7 15:23:42 EST 1998


Dan Wheeler wrote in reply to my questions about his
truffle inoculation data.

There was some confusion when I talked about "inoculation
at Jones Creek," because I meant to say that the TUBER
inoculations at Jones Creek, if done with pureed fruiting
bodies, could have stimulated the resident Tuber mycelium 
to fruit (no longer referring to Geopora here).  I concede
that this is a rather unlikely possibility, though not
impossible if ground up Tubers were sprayed over the 
area on a regular basis. (Of course, if the increase is
production is significant enough, at some point it doesn't
really matter whether you are germinating new spores or
just stimulating existing mycelium to fruit).

I suppose another possibility is that the false truffle
inoculations stimulated the Tuber fruitings, as sort of
a competitive response, again without any Tuber spores
germinating.  This could only be ruled out by keeping one
area for inoculation only with false truffles, as a control.

I am glad to hear that you left an area uninoculated, and
that not much happened there over the same period of
time, although you didn't give us any numbers.

I am now completely confused about your timeline of
inoculation and collection of baseline data.  In your 
response to me, you say that the baseline collection was
done in 1986, yet in that same note as well as in your
original post, you say the baseline collection was done in
June 1987.  Which is correct?  Was there a drought
condition in June 1987?  You also refer to inoculation
(with Tubers, I guess) both as if it were first done in 1986 
and as if it were first done in 1987.  This seems to raise
the possibility that you did your baseline collection AFTER
you carried out the Tuber inoculation, a curious way to
proceed.

You have given the baseline data.  Whether it is for 1986
or 1987, the next question is, what did you collect from
the SAME area in SUBSEQUENT years?  I understand it is a
lot of work to cover that same area that meticulously, but
without this non-baseline data, the baseline data is not of
much value, and it is hard for anyone who has not been at
the site regularly to determine whether overall production
has actually increased.

The cultivation of the soil at Jones Creek may have
reduced the truffle harvest when I was there.  If the
truffles were mostly rather deep, I would have had a hard
time finding  them. But this brings up another question: 
did your baseline collection go down as far as you are
collecting now?  If you are digging deeper now, you will
obviously stand to get more truffles in a given area.  Also,
the increase in harvest could be partly due to soil
disturbance, unless you similarly disturbed the control
area and saw no increase there.

I was also puzzled by the lack of evidence of rodent
activity at the Jones Creek Farm when I visited.  Usually,
when truffles are present in abundance, rodents from the
surrounding area get very busy, and you see lots of signs
that rodents have been digging and munching on the crop. 
Was there something keeping the rodents away?
--Rush Wayne



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