Project Urban Mushrooms on Mimosa Wood

Progress report for FS22-343

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2022: $14,951.00
Projected End Date: 03/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Fountain Heights Farms
Region: Southern
State: Alabama
Principal Investigator:
Maria Dominique Villanueva
Fountain Heights Farms
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Project Information


Our project will clear and clean up one of the overgrown lots in Fountain Heights (located at 1707 14th Ave N, Birmingham, AL 35204) currently owned by Fountain Heights Farms to complete our project testing. On the lot are Mimosa and paper Mulberry, both of which will be used to complete the 2-year trial.


We will be using the Birmingham GIS mapping system to calculate the number of empty lots in the Fountain Heights neighborhood and using the data gathered by Cawaco and the Birmingham Urban Forestry group to calculate the number of existing Mimosa trees in the area. Both data sources will help estimate the potential for other area urban farmers. 


During the two year trial we will be answering the following questions:

  • Given the abundance of the fast-growing, invasive tree species Mimosa (Albizia julibrissin) found on urban lots in Birmingham, AL, are Mimosa tree logs suitable for growing Chestnut, Nameko, Golden Oyster, and Blue Oyster varieties of mushrooms? 


  • What kinds of yields will they return during harvest compared to the tested and rated “suitable” Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera)


  • For how long will the logs continue to produce after the first flush on Mimosa wood?


  • Is there a quality of life improvement to the surrounding neighbors as a result of clearing and cleaning the overgrown lot?
Project Objectives:

We plan on using Paper Mulberry (Broussonetia papyrifera) as the control since Mulberry has already been rated by North Spore, our nationally-recognized mushroom spore supplier, as "Suitable"  for growing all of these varieties.  We will be inoculating 25 of each type of tree, both being harvested from the farm lot and the surrounding areas. We will measure mushroom results via observation and physical measurements and record the data daily in a spreadsheet. We will measure community quality of life improvements by using four self-reported surveys.


With the help of the Fountain Heights Neighborhood Association, we have already acquired an overgrown lot requiring clean-up. We plan to clean up the lot with the help of community volunteers. We will then identify and harvest forty (40) Mimosa logs and forty (40) Paper Mulberry logs on which to grow each of the four varieties as listed in the table below.


Mushroom Variety

Number of Mimosa wood logs

Number of P. Mulberry logs

Golden Oyster ('Saffron' Pleurotus citrinopileatus NSPC1)



Chestnut (Speckled Chestnut' Pholiota adiposa NSPA1)



Nameko ('Jelly Roll' Pholiota nameko NSPN1)



Blue Oyster (Pleurotus ostreatus NSPO9)




We will then identify mushroom log growing areas within the lot, host four mushroom inoculation workshops (two in spring and two in fall) for other urban farmers and interested community members to innoculate the mushroom logs and place the logs, and then consistently measure the actual yield of each mushroom variety on Mimosa wood logs versus the Paper Mulberry “control” logs.  We will also be working closely with the Fountain Heights Neighborhood Association to survey neighbors in years one and two to help measure the quality of life changes related to the mushroom farm space.


Materials and methods:

Project objectives:

The objectives of the Urban Mushrooms on Mimosa Wood Project were to:


Test the viability of growing four types of mushrooms on Mimosa logs sourced from overgrown urban lots in Birmingham, AL.

Demonstrate the use of invasive species for productive use while responsibly managing their growth.

Measure the yield and length of mushroom production on these logs.

Assess the quality of life improvements for community residents living within a 1000-foot radius of the urban farm space once the lot has been cleared and put into mushroom production.


Materials and methods:

The project team sourced Mimosa logs from overgrown urban lots and inoculated them with mushroom spores. The logs were then stacked in a shaded area and monitored for moisture and temperature levels. The team harvested mushrooms as they grew, weighing and recording the yield of each variety.

Research results and discussion:

In the first year, the project inoculated 40 logs Paper Mulberry (control logs) and 40 Mimosa logs (test logs) and grew a total of 31.2 lbs of mushrooms on the Paper Mulberry control logs and 0  pounds of mushrooms on the Mimosa wood logs, with the most successful variety being the Blue Oyster mushroom on the Paper Mulberry logs. We are concerned that there may have been some other factors in the lack of growth from the Mimosa logs so we will be inoculating a second set of 40 logs while continuing to monitor the progress of the existing logs.

The project successfully engaged with 24 neighbors and 19 farmers, and 2 agricultural professionals through educational and outreach activities, raising awareness about the use of invasive species for productive use while responsibly managing their growth.

Participation Summary
2 Farmers participating in research

Educational & Outreach Activities

2 Curricula, factsheets or educational tools
3 On-farm demonstrations
12 Tours
1 Webinars / talks / presentations
3 Workshop field days

Participation Summary:

19 Farmers participated
2 Ag professionals participated
Education/outreach description:

The project team conducted several educational and outreach activities, including on-farm demonstrations, tours, and workshops. The team engaged with 24 neighbors, 19 farmers and 2 agricultural professionals, raising awareness about the use of invasive species for productive use while responsibly managing their growth.


Learning Outcomes

19 Farmers reported changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and/or awareness as a result of their participation
Key changes:
  • Farmers who participated in the project gained knowledge about the use of invasive species for productive use, including the potential viability of growing mushrooms on Mimosa logs. Participants also gained awareness about responsible management practices for invasive species and some farmers shared indigenous knowledge of traditional medicinal uses for mimosa flowers.

Information Products

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.