Shiitake substrates

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Fri Aug 25 10:51:18 EST 2000

I'd like to begin a thread of shiitake cultivation. Specifically, I'd be
very interested in others experiences with shiitake cultivation using
different species of hardwoods or conifers as bedlogs.

I am aware or have heard of the following species being used for bedlog
production, or for chips for space bag cultivation. I'm sure there must
be many more by now.

Those species I have heard of already, with comment about their
productivity if I am personally aware of them:

Red alder (Alnus rubra): very productive, but the bark peels quickly
unless extreme care is used in handling, and once the outer portion of
the tree has been eaten, larger logs become very difficult to handle
without considerable damage. Also, shiitake production is too large: many
of the mushrooms come out as No. 2's because they are too crowded.

Western hemlock, Tsuga heterophylla: a surprisingly good bedlog, provided
that it have been basal pruned several years before, and the bedlogs used
are not too large. Holds bark well, but mushroom production is poor.

Oregon White oak, Quercus garryana: Perhaps the most productive of all
the oak species I have tried to cultivate shiitake on. I remember one of
the first mushrooms fruiting from a tiny (less than 1.5 inch diameter)
log which measured over 5.5 inches across, fully unfurled. Nor was that
the only mushroom the log produced. At least one professional mycologist
doubted it was a shiitake, and was vociferous in her judgment.

Black cottonwood (Populus trichocarpa) and hybrid cottonwood (P.
trichocarpa x Eastern cottonwood, P. ?): more productive than Eastern Red
oak but less productive than Oregon White oak or Red alder, in my
experience. Mushrooms often misshapen, and arrise from odd locations on
bedlogs in my experience. I would, however, expect Quaking aspen (P.
tremuloides) to be a good bed-log because of this experience.

Eastern Red Pin oak (Quercus palustra): used by many eastern and southern
cultivators accoring to literature I have, but the worst producer I have

Black locust: better used as fence posts than as shiitake bedlogs. No
production whatever, which surprised me.

Bigleaf maple (Acer macrophyllum): better than Eastern Red Pin oak, but
with inherent problems. The bark peels quickly, hosts many other
saprophytic fungi, especially Stereum sps, and grows shiitake much better
as chips than as bedlogs.

Any other personal experiences?

Daniel B. Wheeler

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