Citizen Science: Growing Mushrooms on Logs with Beech Bark Disease

While we've studied whether or not you can grow mushrooms on wood from certain diseased trees, there are still several diseases we have not tested. This citizen science study aims to examine if Beltane & West Wind Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) and Lion's Mane (Hericium erinaceus) mushrooms can be cultivated on American Beech (Fagus grandifolia) logs affected by Beech Bark Disease.

shiitake mushrooms

Project Background

Beech Bark Disease is currently a major threat to American beech trees throughout eastern North America and continues to spread. The Beech scale insect (Cryptococcus fagisuga) was accidentally introduced to NA around 1890 and discovered to be killing trees in the 1930's in tandem with a certain fungus.  When the common Beech scale infests a beech tree, it can become a biological vector of a fungal strain in the Neonectria sp., native to NA, and the beech tree will start to form cankers (localized areas of dead tissue).  The cankers may girdle the tree, restricting flow of nutrients, which will physically weaken the tree, and eventually end in demise.  We are testing Shiitake and Lion's Manes' ability to consume diseased wood.

Project Description

This project focuses on agricultural zone 4b, where Kent & Lyn Black are testing the compatibility of twenty American Beech logs infected with Beech Bark Disease and their potential for mushroom cultivation.  The logs were cut on April 19th, 2022, averaging in size of 40" length x 6" diameter, the logs were then inoculated on May 4th-5th, 2022, with the drill-and-fill method.  Seven logs were inoculated with Beltane Shiitake, three with West Wind Shiitake, and ten with Lion's Mane sawdust spawn.  The logs were stored for incubation on a 3" dunnage laid on the ground in a very sheltered, shaded area.  Although the bark is compromised by the disease, which is typically not ideal for mushroom cultivation, no effort has been made to seal or remediate the affected zones.


  • First shiitake fruiting May 2023.
  • Second shiitake August 2023.
  • No Lion's Mane fruiting yet as of 9/11/23
  • Other Observations

  • Logs started to show colonization on September 1st, 2022.
  • Zone Location:
    Zone 4b
    Project Start Date:
    May 5th, 2022
    Kent & Lyn Black
    Project Status:
    In Progress

    FIGURE 1
    Beech Bark Disease

    a log affected by beech bark disease

    FIGURE 2
    Logs post-inoculation

    logs on the forest floor that have beech bark disease

    FIGURE 3
    Spawn run on log ends

    spawn run in logs that have beech bark disease

    FIGURE 4
    Shiitake fruiting!

    spawn run in logs that have beech bark disease