Plug Spawn: Grow Mushrooms on Logs & Stumps

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Mushroom Plug Spawn

Fungi Perfecti offers plug spawn of a number of hardy mushroom species: Reishi, Maitake, Lion's Mane, Shiitake, Pearl, Blue and Phoenix Oyster and Turkey Tail. These sterilized birch plugs are spirally grooved and fully colonized by pure mushroom mycelium, and are available in packages of approximately 100 and approximately 1000 dowels. Our Plug Spawn comes complete with our user-friendly, fully illustrated 14-page instruction booklet.

Shiitake mushrooms growing on oak logs
Shiitake mushrooms growing on oak logs

By using the dowels to inoculate cut hardwood logs or stumps, mushroom mycelium can be encouraged to grow throughout or colonize the wood. Once the wood is fully colonized (typically 9-12 months) mushrooms will spring forth from cracks or channels in the wood. Generally, the best time of year to inoculate logs and stumps is in the Spring, after your last hard frost. However, you can inoculate your logs any time up to 30-45 days before consistently (i.e. 'round the clock) freezing temperatures set in for the Winter. The idea is to allow the mushroom mycelium growing on the Plug Spawn time to establish itself in its new home before it goes into dormancy over the Winter. Logs can be left outdoors over the Winter, under a layer of straw or a burlap tarp, shade cloth or other vapor-permeable cover (do not use plastic tarps: this can cause mold to form). In areas where the Winter is exceptionally harsh, logs can be stored in a shed, barn, garage or other outbuilding.

Log end with mycelium
Characteristic "mottling" of mycelium on the end of a log that is ready to produce mushrooms

Our Plug Spawn grows on recently cut or fallen logs. Milled lumber, rotted wood or trees that have been down for longer than 6 months are not suitable. Logs should be cut to lengths of 3–4 feet, and are best if they do not exceed approximately 8 inches in diameter. Stumps of 6–14 inches in diameter are recommended for stump cultivation. Use a 5/16" drill bit to drill 1¼"-deep holes, evenly spaced around and along the logs. Stumps should be inoculated along the circumference of their face, in the border between the bark and the heartwood. Insert 1 plug per hole and whack it in with a rubber mallet or a hammer. A 3–4 foot log can take 50 or more plugs, while stumps usually hold 30–50 plugs. Holes can be sealed with cheese wax or beeswax to protect the mycelium while it is growing; although this step is helpful, it is not absolutely necessary. (Fungi Perfecti sells sealing wax for this purpose.)

We guarantee our Mushroom Plug Spawn to be viable. (In fact, if left unattended on a shelf or in your refrigerator for too long, many of our Plug Spawn species will begin to produce mushrooms right out of the bag!) However, the total number of mushrooms you can expect to get via log and stump cultivation will vary from log to log, and from season to season.

Any outdoor mushroom cultivation project involves a number of variables; climate, species, sugar and moisture content of wood, consumption of mushrooms or mushroom mycelium by insects and other animals, quality of care and just plain old chance, to name a few. Due to the many and various contributing factors involved in this method of mushroom cultivation, Fungi Perfecti cannot accurately predict the amount of mushrooms your Plug Spawn will produce.

Cross-Reference Chart: Wood Type to Mushroom Species

Customer Testimonials

Hello my friends at Fungi Perfecti!

Turkey Tail StumpI just wanted to take a minute to say a big THANK YOU to you for making the Turkey Tail spawn plugs available. A few years ago, I had a crabapple tree that was in rough shape, and was also blocking the sun from my gardens, and really needed to come down. I cut it down, leveled the stump flat with a chainsaw, and then inoculated the stump with one of your turkey tail plug spawn kits.

After a little over a year, I had about a season and a half of very nice flushes, which I harvested and made into tea (I still have quite a bit of the dried turkey tails left!). Very healing and quite excellent.

The other reason for inoculating the stump was to remove it at low cost, and do it by myself without a stump grinder, etc. Well, today was the momentous day! Not knowing how broken down the stump would be, but hoping that it was ready for removal, I went out this morning with a large pry bar and a ten pound sledgehammer. The stump had pretty much stopped producing turkey tails, which I figured was another good sign that the wood was pretty soft.

Turkey Tail MushroomsThanks to using your turkey tail plug spawn, I was able to use that pry bar and hammer to remove that huge, quite unattractive stump from the center of my back yard with relative ease. I am especially happy about being able to remove the roots and all the parts attached to the ground, which, if you've ever tried to remove that part of a large tree or shrub you know it is extremely tough. Not so with the spent turkey tail stump! Most of the huge roots and pieces in the ground didn't even require the hammer; just pushing the pry bar underneath them and applying a bit of leverage was enough to easily lift them out of the soil.

These are exactly the results I hoped for when I inoculated that stump several years ago, both in harvesting medicinal turkey tails and in eventual easy stump removal. Thank you so much for the education and the wonderful plug spawn kit. And by all means feel free to use any or all of my words in your testimonials if you wish. They are 100% true and sincere and from the heart.

Much Love and Appreciation,

James Galusha
Photos courtesy of James Galusha

Mushroom Plug Spawn

Greetings! Fungi are full of surprises. Attached are a couple of photos taken today. This is on sweetgum. A couple more logs that I soaked have a few on them as well, but not this many yet.

This log was from a tree we needed to get rid of anyway. My sons had lots of fun drilling holes and driving in plugs, so there was recreation/entertainment value. I probably put two whole dollars worth of plugs into this log. You reckon I got my money's worth?

Photo courtesy of Albert

Shiitake mushrooms

I really wanted to thank you for the mushroom spawn!! I have had great success with your spawn and the restaurants love the mushrooms I grow. My logs have done remarkably well, almost unbelievable flushes of Shiitakes and Tree Oysters. A big hit are the Blue Oysters. My friend makes a mock calamari with these that is just nuts.

Justin K
Photo courtesy of Justin K

Mushroom Plug Spawn

I planted the Maitake plug spores in the roots of trees on my land here in Pennsylvania in April of 2009. I selected 5 old red oak trees which are declining in health due to their age. (I drilled the holes right at the junction of the root and soil.) After plugging the trees I sealed the holes with wax. That first year (2010) was very wet and I harvested 50 lbs of Maitake from 3 trees. 2010 was a very dry summer and fall and the trees produced nothing. This year 2011 with the highest rainfall total on record for the month of Sept. I have now harvested 2 flushes of Maitake the first was 20 lbs. and the second was 50 lbs. from 4 of the trees. The picture shows my friend Bob’s children holding 2 of the large specimens from the second harvest. I actually harvested 7 of these and 2 were too large for the kids to hold.

Craig Cassel
Photo courtesy of Craig Cassel

Mushroom Plug Spawn

Dear Paul and the Gang,

Last Spring I inoculated some hardwood logs with Oyster dowels, purchased from Fungi Perfecti. Check out the photos of the logs, which are currently fruiting. Thank you for helping me to start a much needed mushroom business, here in Southern California.

Thank you,
Chris Rush
Photo courtesy of Chris Rush

Mushroom Plug Spawn

I just wanted to share these. I ordered some shiitake sawdust spawn and inoculated several water oak logs back in May 05. I had my first fruiting a couple of weeks ago and it was incredible! I brought them out of the woods while fruiting (so the squirrels etc wouldn't get into them). I live on the northeast FL coast. Not bad for a first timer!

Bailey Struss
Photo courtesy of Bailey Struss

Mushroom Plug Spawn

Dear Mr. Stamets,

I live on the Florida gulf coast. Hurricane Ivan cost us two oak trees. Three months later I decided to recycle some of the wood with your shiitake plug spawn. After nine months we got our first flush. The enclosed photos are from the fifth flush. Rarely does a product exceed expectations. Yours did.

Thank you,
Joe Levine
Photo courtesy of Joe Levine

An Important Note for our Customers in the Hawaiian Islands

The Hawaii State Department of Agriculture has recently increased their restrictions on the importation of live mushroom mycelium into the islands. This affects the sale of Fungi Perfecti's Indoor and Outdoor Mushroom Patches, Plug Spawn for Log and Stump Cultivation, and Pure Mushroom Spawn and Cultures. Customers in Hawaii wishing to purchase any of these products will need to first apply for and receive an Import Permit from the HSDA Plant Quarantine Branch. Additionally, importation of our MycoGrow™ products is completely prohibited.

The permit can be downloaded in Adobe Acrobat format online here. If you have further questions, you can contact Fungi Perfecti or speak directly to Will Leon-Guerrero at the Hawaii State Department of Agriculture, 1428 S. King Street, Honolulu, HI 96814. Phone: (808) 832-0566.