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Mushrooms Growing on Wood: Here’s why

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Mushrooms are fungi that are found in a wide variety of habitats, but not all mushrooms can occupy all habitats. Some mushrooms grow in damp shady places, while some can even grow on wood.

Mushrooms will grow on wood in a moist environment. Moisture within the wood allows the fibers to break down and rot which encourages mushrooms to feed on the lignin (wood fibers) and flourish. Both edible and poisonous varieties of mushrooms grow on wood with marked differences.

Mushrooms can grow almost anywhere that there is moisture and a good food source.

This article will give you a better understanding of mushrooms, why they grow on wood, and what you can do to prevent them from growing in unwanted spaces.

What Type of Mushrooms Grow on Wood?

mushroom in the garden

Generally, dead, damp, and rotted wood is preferred by mushrooms for their growth. The reproductive parts of fungi are ?mushroom conks.? 

The development of mushroom conks on the trunk of a tree represents rotting within a tree.

Environmental conditions are most important regarding the growth of mushrooms. Both edible and medicinal mushrooms can be grown on wood. Let me give you some examples:

Oyster Mushroom:

Oyster mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) is an edible mushroom that varies in colors and taste and has an oyster-like shape.

They naturally grow on trees. However, they are commercially grown on substrates like straw or coffee grounds as well. 

Their incubation period is short, which means that they can be harvested from logs within the fall of the same year of their inoculation. 

They are usually found on dead hardwood like beech and oak trees and have high nutritional value.

Lion’s Mane:

This mushroom got its name “Lion Mane” (Hericium Erinaceus) because of its white teeth or needles, which give it a shaggy appearance. 

They grow pretty well on different kinds of woods like beech, maple, and poplar. These mature mushrooms are 40cm in diameter. 

In the spring and fall seasons, these mushrooms are produced by mycelium.  They are edible but are also important for medical purposes

Sulphur Shelf Mushroom:

Sulfur shelf mushroom (Laetiporus sulphureus), also known as the chicken mushroom, is a yellow or bright orange-colored having a distinctive meaty taste.

They typically grow on large oak trees and are found in the form of shelf-like clusters. They seem to have semicircular-shaped caps, 2-12 inches across and almost 8 inches deep. 

Tiny pores are present on the base of their caps. Many plant compounds such as polysaccharides, cinnamic acid, and eburicoic acid are found in these mushrooms.  

The summer and fall period are their harvesting months.

Mushrooms Growing on Wood 

Water or moisture tends to accelerate the breakdown process leading to a higher possibility of moss and fungal growth which results in mushrooms growing in wooden structures in the home.

Excessive moisture will cause mushrooms will grow in potted plants and vegetable gardens as a result of spores that have been embedded in the potting soil or the mulch medium which was used.

Mushrooms in the Home

Mushrooms can grow in almost any space once the conditions are right. Their spores are literally everywhere and can travel through air or water droplets. That?s how they can end up within the home.

When mushrooms grow on wooden structures within the home it means that the structure is being subjected to moisture on a continuous basis.

One common place where mushrooms, spores, or moss can grow is on bathroom doors and wooden fixtures.

Another place within wooden moldings and Fixtures around the home.

The best way to stop mushrooms and their spores from growing on wooden furniture is to stop the source of moisture in its tracks.

That could mean turning off the humidifier or ventilating the space so that steam fumes (like from a bathroom) can escape without settling on the wooden furniture.

Mushrooms Growing Outdoors

mushrooms in potted plants

Mushrooms are highly beneficial to a garden. The fungi help decompose complex organic material in the garden such as dead leaves, wood chips, and mulch into plant nutrients. 

The presents of bacteria and fungi are a sign that the soil is healthy.

They are beneficial fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with plants by providing them with nutrients to grow. Mushrooms in the soil are a sign of a mini, healthy ecosystem.

Why they tend to grow on wood is because they can feed on the organic matter from the wood as it decays. They take nutrients from the wood substrate and break down lignin.

Mushrooms will grow on:

  • Trees
  • Decaying Leaves
  • Lawn Grass
  • Logs
  • Mulch

In addition to making nutrients usable for mushrooms, plants also provide protection for each other and the mushroom colony.

This is because mushrooms and fungi form a communication network between the plants in the soil and provide the framework by which they can communicate distress signals to each other during times of insect attacks so that neighboring plants can increase their defense system when others are being attacked.

Can You Eat Mushrooms that Grow on Logs?

Mushrooms are classified as vegetables, they are not plants, and in fact, they are part of the plant kingdom known as Fungi. 

Most mushrooms are also a good source of selenium and potassium and are considered a vegan food source. In addition, they are a rich, low-calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants.

The question here is whether these wood-growing mushrooms are edible or not? Well, the answer is quite simple; among them, some are edible while others are not, depending on the type of mushrooms. 

Be aware that many mushrooms are poisonous, and consuming even a tiny amount of them can make you ill. 

Some edible varieties of wood-growing mushrooms include oyster mushrooms, shiitakes, chicken of the woods, wine caps, chanterelles, pioppini, nameko, and lion’s mane. 

Reishis, one of the edible mushrooms, provide essential health benefits and also grow on wood.

However, the edibility of some of these mushrooms is either not known, or they are not preferred for eating because of their small size or bad flavor. 

In case if you can’t identify whether they are poisonous or not, avoid doing experiments regarding their consumption.

How to Prevent Mushrooms from Growing on Wood?

Controlling mushroom in the garden

Now you are wondering how you can get rid of mushrooms from wood?  

It is worth mentioning that mushrooms are fruiting bodies of mycelium that are hidden microscopic organisms. 

So, removing mushrooms means you have to do something about mycelium, which is quite difficult because they grow enormously. 

Destroying mycelium seems not practical. However, there are several ways to prevent them from growing on wood:

  • Mushrooms can be removed simply by picking them. In case you don’t recognize the type, pull them with a gloved hand.
  • Secondly, you can spray a solution containing 1 part white vinegar to 4 parts water on visible mushrooms to kill them. In the case of dried mushrooms, you can wait for their decomposition.
  • Lime can also be useful because mushrooms require an acidic environment for their growth, while lime will sweeten the surface to get rid of them.
  • A third choice is to spray commercial fungicide on them that will affect their mycelium.

Can You Use Wood to Grow Mushrooms?

We can use wood to grow mushrooms. Sounds interesting? Well, the idea of cultivating mushrooms on logs started 2000 years ago in Asia, but nowadays, the practice has been applied commercially in the West.

For mushroom growth, choosing healthy trees is vital as competition chances can increase because of already existing fungi in infected wood. 

Large-sized logs are more suitable for their growth, as the larger the size, the longer the mycelium takes to colonize the whole length and start producing mushrooms. 

Some basic steps of mushrooms growth on wood include:

  • Get mushroom spawn and tools
  • Harvest logs for inoculation
  • Drill holes in logs and fill them with mushroom spawn
  • Seal the holes with wax
  • Place logs in areas where they will remain moist
  • Wait for colonization of logs by spawn
  • Harvest and enjoy your mushroom

Benefits of Mushrooms Cultivation on Logs:

Some of the benefits of cultivating mushrooms on logs include:

  • Enhance value to undesirable wood species
  • Diversify the type of products that you can offer
  • Provides a cost-effective way to produce nutritious edible mushrooms that have medicinal importance.

The Takeaway:

Mushrooms generally require three things for their growth: a food source, water, and oxygen. 

These three elements can be found in the wild as a tree’s roots spread out through the soil. It should be noted that almost all mushroom species are saprophytes, feeding on decaying organic matter present throughout nature.

Mushrooms are found in various habitats, including moist, dead, and infected woods. They feed on the wood fibers. 

In the case of logs, the wood fibers get wet, rotted and encourage mushroom growth.

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