creating hollow oaks with Fistulina hepatica

dwheeler at dwheeler at
Mon Feb 15 12:28:38 EST 1999

In article <7a0nh2$e6f$1 at>,
  NICKLAS JANSSON <nicklas.jansson at> wrote:
> I m working with nature conservation in Sweden and in a Nature-reserve =
> with big old hollow oaks (and hold a lot of thretened insect species =
> living on and inside the trees). The problem is that they are so old that =
> they are dying and ther are no other hollow oaks in the area. Here we want =
> to try to =22make=22 younger oaks hollow too.=20
> So now I m looking for information or a person whith knoledge arround the =
> tecnic used in England when making oak wood darker. I know that one use =
> the =22beefsteak fungus=22 (Fistulina hepatica) and inoculate it s mycelia =
> in living oaks. But I wonder for exemple when and how they do it.
> Nicklas Jansson
> L=E4nsstyrelsen E-l=E4n
> Milj=F6v=E5rdsenheten
> 58186 Link=F6ping
I haven't grown F. hepatica. Yet.

However, I have found in on local Oregon White oak (Quercus garryana) which
appears to have been larger (possible 200+ years) trees. The only time I find
F. h. is when the trees have been damaged in some way: windstorm or ice
damage is the most common reason that I can tell. In these cases, F.h.
apparently first inoculates the jagged damaged area, then slowly grows
backward into the tree.

Using that as a working supposition, try cutting a larger limb leading to the
center of the tree. Inoculate this site with spawn (I'd use millet spawn
myself, but sawdust-grown mycelium should work too). Cover the spawn with a
sheet of thin, flexible plastic (Saran-wrap works well for me), and cover the
plastic with a cap made of aluminum foil. Allow the spawn and cap to stay on
the tree for at least 3 months, at which time the mycelium should be thriving
(provided the limb was cut during the spring). F.h. mycelium should grow
faster in your area during the summer months than during the winter. Once
inoculated, sit back and wait. F.h. is not, IMHO, a fast-growing fungus, and
may take several years to create the hollow center you are seeking.

Daniel B. Wheeler
"I like to walk a mile in a man's shoes before criticizing him. That
way, if he gets angry, I'm a mile away. And he's barefoot."

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