top of page

Logging for mushrooms

Sustainable logging (how we get mushroom logs these days)

It's that time of year again - when I get to spend hours and hours in the woods harvesting mushroom logs! It's deeply satisfying, since I get an excuse to spend time outside in the winter woods doing something I enjoy. And while I romp around in the woods I'm also opening up canopy and root space for the stronger trees that I leave alone. This is the kind of logging that we've done for nearly ten years to provide wood for mushroom cultivation.




Sustainable farming is as I see is farming that can continue for many years to come - even with climate change, peak oil, or economic or environmental instability. Log cultivation - sourced by thinning dense forests - is absolutely "sustainable farming." And while we continue to grow mushrooms on blocks year-round, we also have been pushing the limits of what can be grown on logs; we now grow three types of shiitake, four very different types of oyster, olive oysterling, chestnut, lion's mane, nameko, and turkey tail.


I'd like to give you a window on this part of the year for us at Northwood Mushrooms by describing more what logging is for our farm. This year we're only planning on cutting and inoculating about 2000 logs, and I (Jeremy) will probably do all the logging. That means several steps:

1) driving to the logging site, and that means getting all our equipment there first!


Skidsteer, mushroom log cage, and bucket on trailer
Getting our skidsteer and a log cage to the logging site


skidsteer and logging cage on trailer
Everything needs to be firmly chained down for the trip!

2) identifying which trees should be kept and which I should cut down - and which will make good mushroom logs. We're looking for fresh, not rotten wood - with vigorous growth and in the case of oak, a thick sap wood layer.


thinning of red oak to open canopy and encourage remaining trees
Selective thinning of red oak

In the past we cut coppiced oak - thinning multiple trunks of the same root down to one

stack of red oak mushroom logs with close up on sap versus heartwood
A thick sapwood layer (over 1/2 inch) is key to successful shiitake

felled red oak tree with frost crack lying in the snow
A large frost crack made this a good tree to cut

3) cutting trees down,


chainsaw and mushroom log measuring stick in woods



4) cutting trees into four-foot sections for mushroom logs, cleaning up the stump, and getting the "tops" out of the way of the way into brush piles (great habitat for birds and other critters!),


red oak stump and mushroom logs in cage in woods
A cleaned-up stump and mushroom logs in a cage beyond

sugar maple mushroom logs buried in snow
mushroom logs can get really buried in snow!

black cherry mushroom logs in snowy woods

red oak mushroom logs in woods - off access path

Winching mushroom logs up a hill
Winching mushroom logs up a hill!

stack of oak mushroom logs in woods
Sometimes we need to stack up mushroom logs - if we can't remove them immediately

stack of oak mushroom logs in woods

5) loading mushroom logs into our metal cages for transport,


stack of oak mushroom logs loaded in metal cage in woods
We can fit about 40 oak mushroom logs into a metal cage - about 2000 pounds. We could fit more, but our skidsteer can't carry that much weight!

6) moving them over and onto our trailer, driving them back to the farm.


skidsteer and cage full of oak mushroom logs in woods
We have an attachment that makes it possible to pick up cages from the top

snow chains on skidsteer wheel to improve traction - with bungee cords to tension chains
snow chains on skidsteer wheel to improve traction - with bungee cords to tension chains

cage load of aspen mushroom logs and skidsteer in snowy woods

Full mushroom log cage - with logging equipment
This cage has a handy spot at the bottom - great for carrying logging equipment - and my lunch!

oak mushroom logs on trailer
Filling trailer with mushroom logs


Chain and tightener over mushroom logs to secure them to trailer
Chain and tightener; logs need to be well secured before the trip back to the farm!

aspen and oak mushroom logs at the farm still on the trailer

mushroom logs on trailer - ready for unloading
Mostly-full trailer back at the farm - ready to unload at our new addition!

oak mushroom logs and awaiting cage outside building addition
Unloading logs onto another cage is really easy - with our new addition!

Metal cage of birch mushroom logs - for growing lion's mane
Another small load of birch mushroom logs - for growing lion's mane

Now that we have our mushroom logs, all we have to do is inoculate, incubate, and perhaps soak them to get mushrooms; we're practically there already! Fast-forwarding, here are a few photos of the finished product:


Chestnut Mushrooms - growing on aspen
Chestnut Mushrooms - growing on aspen

Olive Oysterling - growing on red oak
Olive Oysterling - growing on red oak


Shiitake growing on red oak
Shiitake growing on red oak

Summer white oyster - growing on aspen wood
Summer white oyster

Turkey Tail on red oak
Turkey Tail on red oak

Nameko mushrooms - growing on black cherry wood
Nameko mushrooms - growing through black cherry bark


Commentaires


Read more News:

bottom of page