Growing Medicinal Mushrooms on Hardwood Stumps and Tops
The Ozark region of Missouri contains a large quantity of oak, hickory, and other hard wood trees. Many of the trees are grown on private property and are harvested for a timber crop once they reach the proper size. When the trees are cut down, only the main trunk is sold to the lumber company while the remaining parts of the tree are left in the woods to rot. The object of this grant was to provide an additional income from the harvested trees by growing medicinal mushrooms on the stumps and tops. The project will also show landowners how to generate an income from damaged or crooked trees.
The process for this project began by harvesting various sizes of trees during the fall and winter months. Each tree was cut into assorted sizes and marked with the cut date and type of mushroom that was inserted into the wood. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi and Grifola frondosa (Maitake) were the two types of mushrooms used for this experiment, due to their ability to grow on harvested hardwood and for their medicinal qualities. Research has shown that these mushrooms have provided good results for fighting cancer and acting against the HIV virus.
The experiment included using logs from oak, elm, and walnut trees and using different forms of immunization to determine the best outcome. Some of the logs were drilled with holes to place the spawn in and then covered in aluminum foil. Others had the spawn placed at the end of the logs and then covered with aluminum foil. These logs were placed in a variety of environments, including under Cedar trees, sheds, and in the woods while receiving different amounts of water.
The anticipated outcome for this project was that the mushrooms would grow from the logs within the first year, but the first year they were only able to produce about a pound of Reishi mushrooms. They extended the project for another year hoping for better results, but only produced about three pounds of Reishi mushrooms and still no Maitake.
While this project didn’t prove to be a viable source for extra income; they did learn that much more research needed to be done to create a more cost effective way of introducing the mushroom spawn to the logs/stump. They also found that the climate is a big factor in the production; as the logs placed under the Cedar trees and watered on a regular basis were the only ones that produced mushrooms.