Looking to expand the database of softwoods that can be used in mushroom cultivation, we turned to test Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana). Jack Pine is a common tree native to northeastern North America, with little concern for current conservation standards. Jack Pine shares many characteristics with white pines, such as considerably lower density than yellow pine species, and is used primarily for construction lumber. We have tested and found that Jack Pine is a superior host for Nameko (Pholiota microspora) mushrooms, but we are curious to see how Chestnut (Pholiota aurivella) mushrooms, from within the same genus, will perform.
Charles Bomar in zone 4b, northwestern Wisconsin, gathered seven Jack Pine logs after an F0 (40-72 mph winds) tornado stormed the area on December 16, 2021. The seven logs cut on December 27th, 2021, each measuring approximately 5' in length x 5" in diameter. Based on ring count, the 18-22-year-old bolts were inoculated on April 23rd, 2022, with Chestnut mushroom plug spawn. After inoculation, Charles placed the logs on a pallet in a crisscross formation in a shaded location surrounded by dogwood, red oak, and sugar maple trees.
On October 1st, 2022, seven of the Jack Pine logs started to fruit. After the first yields were taken, eight Chestnuts were harvested, weighing 0.5 ounces. All mushrooms were singular, small, and thin. Eight clusters of Nameko were harvested with 5-8 stalks in each cluster, weight was 4.5 ounces, clusters were generally plump in nature. We will be continuing to monitor results throughout the next several years.
- On July 22nd, 2022, Charles noticed that he may potentially have Pine Bark Beetles on the logs, due to sawdust debris on the logs.
- August 14th, 2022, bark on Jack Pine logs started to peel back.
- October 1st, 2022, logs started to fruit.