The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Best tree species for shiitake logs

Shiitakes fruiting on sycamore logs

The word "shiitake" literally means "oak mushroom," so it's no surprise that red and white oaks are widely considered to be the best American trees to cut for shiitake production. But what if you live in a low and wet area with few oaks present? We've successfully fruited shiitakes on sycamores in the past (as you can see above), but with another set of plugs arriving in the middle of February, I wanted to expand our host trees. Based on about a dozen websites, here's an analysis of the best to worst eastern U.S. trees for shiitake production.


Nearly as good:

Some sites list these as excellent, some as only fair:

Good to fair:

Possibly to be avoided (although some sites list these as fair to good):

Definitely to be avoided:

In addition to species, you should consider the growth habit and location of the tree. Fertile sites produce good mushroom logs, probably because the trees grow quickly and have little of the inedible-to-shiitakes heartwood and lots of sapwood instead. Similarly, rocky hillsides and wet places tend to produce logs lower in nutrients from a mushroom point of view.

Mark and I need about eighteen logs for our upcoming mushroom-plugging day, and I'm thinking of trying at least three or four species from the top of this list to get an idea for which species work best here. I can definitely come up with some ironwood and beech, and maybe even an oak within carrying distance of our core homestead. Time to explore the woods with shiitakes in mind!

Anna Hess's books
Want more in-depth information? Browse through our books.

Or explore more posts by date or by subject.

About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

Want to be notified when new comments are posted on this page? Click on the RSS button after you add a comment to subscribe to the comment feed, or simply check the box beside "email replies to me" while writing your comment.

I'm curious to know where you got the information on tree species and mushrooms. A neighbor and I have been trying to figure out which tree species would be good for both hen of the woods and chicken of the woods mushrooms, with no luck on finding the info needed. Can you recommend a website?


Comment by Nayan Sat Jan 31 14:28:23 2015
Nayan --- I just google until I turn up enough sites that they start repeating (or contradicting) each other. You'll probably have best results if you google maitake instead of hen of the woods (or even better, their scientific names). Looking at sites that sell spawn is always a good start since certain varieties within each species require certain types of trees to grow on, and the website in question will give you that data. I should warn you, though, that neither hen of the woods nor chicken of the woods are on the easy-to-cultivate list.
Comment by anna Sat Jan 31 14:52:32 2015
paul stamets' (author of mycelium running) fungi perfecti has tons of cultural information as well as spawn---you can find it here:
Comment by melina w staal Sat Jan 31 19:52:08 2015
Any experience using Black Oak with Shiitake? Thank you.
Comment by LA Romero Thu Oct 29 13:08:53 2015
LA Romero --- I don't have any first-hand information on black oaks, but I suspect they'd be similar to the closely related red oaks.
Comment by anna Thu Oct 29 16:29:28 2015

profile counter myspace

Powered by Branchable Wiki Hosting.

Required disclosures:

As an Amazon Associate, I earn a few pennies every time you buy something using one of my affiliate links. Don't worry, though --- I only recommend products I thoroughly stand behind!

Also, this site has Google ads on it. Third party vendors, including Google, use cookies to serve ads based on a user's prior visits to a website. Google's use of advertising cookies enables it and its partners to serve ads to users based on their visit to various sites. You can opt out of personalized advertising by visiting this site.