PING! dwheeler

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Sun Feb 11 01:47:48 EST 2001

In article <3A855365.CE5487D1 at>,
  quasho at wrote:
> Daniel,
> I'd like to learn more about the use of a potential fungi mixture that
> could be sprayed on chipped forest debris in a controlled experiment to
> potentially promote decay, soil development, mycorrhizal associations
> and the reduction of post-harvesting fuel loads.  My area of interest is
> north central NM, ponderosa forest at a mean elevation of 7,600 feet
> (amsl).  Open east, southeastern exposure with slight eastern aspect.
> Gambles oak/mixed shrub understory.
I have absolutely no experience in the area you suggest.

Here's some suggestions for rapid degradation of slash/chips/debris: use
what grows in your area. It may be Pleurotus ostreatus, Lepista nuda,
Morchella elata or other rapid-growing fungi. You will likely have 50-100
species of saprophytic fungi blown into the debris as it lays. Try to
keep track of the species involved.

Of these, Morchella grows fastest and still offers a potential crop.
However, the only Morchella I know that fruits in oak grows under Oregon
White oak and may be mycorrhizal with that species.
> I would like to compare a plot(s) treated with the standard logging
> technique of lop and scatter to comparative plots where treatment
> involved chipping/broadcast spreading of the lop, and then, compare
> these to plots where the chipping-spread has also been sprayed with a
> fungi mixture.  Additional plots would contain chip-spreading mixed with
> indigenous seed to promote ungulate browse...and indigenous seed to
> promote wild turkey browse.  All the plots would then be monitored for
> three to five years.
I'm not positive, but I suspect Gambel's oak acorns are probably
important food for wild turkeys. Acorns have long been a stable of Native
American diets as well.
> Are there any known Saprophytes that affiliate with ponderosa pine or
> which may be beneficial to ponderosa in terms of mycorrhizal
> associations?
This is nearly a contradiction in terms, William. Saprophytes degrade
wood and woody debris; mycorrhizae assist plant growth. The only
combination of saprophyte/mycorrhizae are Honey mushrooms (Armillariella
mellea complex) which may or may not be native to your area. I have
cultivated several species of Scleroderma, which are poisonous to many
animals and people, but are easily cultivated with both Ponderosa pine
and oak. In fact, Scleroderma is perhaps one of the easiest mycorrhizal
fungi to grow. I would also try Pisolithus tinctorius (Dead Man's Foot),
which is also used to dye cloth and wool, hence another common name,
Dyemaker's Puffball.
  Are there specific parasites that should definitely be
> avoided and monitored for?
I would try to control Armillariella infestations, which can cause
something called Shoestring Root Rot. But at least some of this complex
are edible for humans...

  If we could shoot for the establishment of a
> potential food source, which of the ascomycetes would be best suited for
> propagation in our region?
Definately morels. They grow just about anywhere in North America. And
they do better in slightly arid conditions than in area where rainfall is
over 35 inches per year.

  Many questions but little knowledge in this
> area but I do want to learn more.
> Wm. Whatley
> Pueblo of Jemez
> Walatowa Woodlands Initiative
I applaud your desire to learn more. I'm so ignorant of your area though
that I could be telling you to introduce new species to your area which
should _not_ be introduced.

In Mushrooms and Truffles of the Southwest, Jack S. States shows
Scleroderma, Rhizopogon, Tuber, Gautieria, Sclerogaster, and Geopora
among others. I have cultivated Geopora cooperi once. Using my method
cultivation might take longer than is practical in your area.

Rhizopogons OTOH are so simple to grow that a slurry made of a single
sporocarp is sufficient to inoculate several million seedling trees as
they are being set out, or severl thousand already planted trees. It
could even be used as an aerial application, in addition to Pisolithus
tinctorius, Scleroderma, and other appropriate mycorrhizal fungi.

The easiest way to disperse mycorrhizal and saprophytic fungi at the same
time is via spore suspension in water. The suspension would need to be
applied during or just before a period when there is a good chance of
rainfall, in order to wash at least some of the mycorrhizal spores into
the soil near the tree roots. Once there, you should start to see much
greater tree growth, regardless of species. Mycorrhizal fungi are known
to gather water, leach phosphorus and potassium from rock, and are often
associated with nitrogen-fixing bacteria such as Rhizobium sps.

Once introduced these inoculated areas tend to grow at comparatively
greater rates, as would be expected given the above facts. Many of these
fungi are also important as food to squirrels, voles, and even turkeys
and other birds. For example, in New Zealand truffles and truffle-like
fungi developed bright colors to attract the eye of dodos and other
birds, which also dispersed the spores in their droppings.

This subject cannot be covered in a single post. Tell me more of what you
would _like_ to see the area produce.

Daniel B. Wheeler

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