Mushroom Log Cultivation Instructions       




Mushroom Log Cultivation Instructions

These hardwood dowels, or “plug spawn”, have been inoculated with a single species of fungi. Plug spawn is used to inoculate a fresh cut log to encourage the growth and fruiting of a

specific species of edible and/or medicinal mushroom. Plug spawn can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 4-6 months before use.


Log Preparation

  • Harvest logs (4-8 inches diameter; 3-4 feet long) preferably in fall, winter, or spring before tree buds break. Avoid additional damage to bark while cutting.
  • Allow logs to rest for 2-8 weeks prior to inoculating. Place logs on raised pallets or other wood during the resting period to prevent rot, especially if using alder.
  • When the logs are ready, drill inoculation holes with a 5/16 ” drill bit to a depth of 1¼”. You can purchase a depth setter for your drill bit to make this process easier and more consistent.
  • Drill approximately fifty holes per log. Holes should be drilled 2-3 inches apart. Stagger rows 3 inches apart so that the holes form a diamond pattern. Use a closer spacing for Lion’s mane.
  • Remove plugs from refrigerator 24 hrs before use. Hammer plugs into each hole with a rubber mallet.
  • Melt bees wax or soy wax in a crockpot or double boiler. Using a small paintbrush, apply the wax over each plug site to prevent them from drying out during the incubation period.
  • Seal the ends of the logs with wax and any areas where the the bark has been damaged. Alternately, the ends of the logs can be dipped in melted wax if the container is large enough.

Log Incubation Period

  • Place the inoculated logs outdoors in a moist, shady place, sheltered from wind. Stack logs off the ground in a criss cross pattern or lean vertically. Keep 2-3 inches of space between logs to allow for air flow. To encourage mycelial colonization, logs must be kept moist with sprinklers or rain. Logs should be watered 1-2 times a week for 5-10 minutes during the dry season. In drier regions logs can be covered with shade cloth or burlap to help retain moisture.
  • Full colonization of the logs will take between 6 months to 2 years depending on species, log size, and wood type before fruiting can be induced.

Log Fruiting Cycle

After the incubation period, logs can be soaked to force a fruiting.

Soaking Method

  • Immerse log in chlorine-free cold water for 12 hours or until logs are fully saturated.
  • Stack logs off the ground in a shady area.
  • If outdoor humididty levels are low, plastic sheeting can be used as a tent to increase humidity. Avoid logs having contact with the plastic.
  • When the logs are done fruiting, allow them to rest 8-10 weeks before forcing them to fruit again.

See website for suggestions on burying Nameko, Maitake, and Reishi logs after incubation.

Burying Techniques-