Shiitake Mushroom Plug Spawn (Lentinula edodes) have been hailed for both their culinary and health benefits in Japan and other parts of Asia for hundreds of years, and their popularity worldwide increases every year. Found primarily on thicker-barked hardwoods like oak, they also do well on “scrub” hardwoods like alder although longevity of the logs will be less than that of other hardwoods. Logs or stumps can be inoculated; after incubating the logs may be partially buried, vertically-oriented, to conserve water during fruiting. When properly cared for, our hardy strain of Shiitake will begin to fruit in as little as 6 months, with the most substantial fruitings appearing 1–2 years from inoculation.
Skill Level: 1/5
Favored wood: Shiitake will fruit on a wide variety of deciduous wood so it’s a great mushroom for first-time cultivators. Our Shiitake strain is renowned for its large size, long duration of fruiting and adaptability to diverse wood types. Thick-barked hardwoods like oak are the most preferable species to inoculate. Other suitable hardwoods include sweetgum, ash, chestnut, hornbeam, ironwood and hickory. “Scrub” hardwoods like alder, beech and birch will typically work fine, however the logs inoculated may not fruit as many years as oak. Poplar, cottonwood, and willow are suitable but tend to break down very quickly as well. There have also been reports of Shiitakes successfully fruiting on koa and on eucalyptus logs.
Preferred orientation: Vertical
Preferred fruiting temperature: 50–80 °F
Length of time for maturing: 2–3 weeks
Fruiting season(s): Spring, Fall