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John Smalldridge

A question for BrianF.

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Hi Brian, I know that you tried to grow B. edulis before and it ended not working out. I was wondering if the growth rate of the trees was a factor in sucessfully cultivating mushrooms. A few weeks ago I found a little described B. edulis species that grows in association with loblolly pines. Loblolly pines are a fast growing species used in the lumber and pulp industry. Do you think these B. edulis would be a better candidate for cultivation?

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Good question. My attempts at colonizing b.edulis have been complete failures. I have colonized chanterelles, hedgehogs, laccaria amythystina, suillus granulatus, and bi-colors and inoculated roots in the wild with varying degrees of success......all have produced mushrooms, some a lot, some not so much.....some spots getting better each year. I know wild cultivation of ceps is possible, as it has been near mastered in Italy. I'm pretty sure the greatest success of wild B.Edulis cultivation has come from inoculating fruit and nut tree orchards. I attempted to inoculate my apple tree's with straight spores last fall, but I didn't see any edulis this season....this in good theory could take years to come to pass.

I would imagine that the growth rate of a tree wouldn't hinder the colonization......I would also imagine that a quick growth rate and rapid maturation would probably be beneficial, as mycelium does seem to have a minimum age requirement. I just don't know what a slightly more mature tree produces that a 1-2 year old tree doesn't.... I know using standard Eastern White Pine saplings I've only been able to inoculate 3-4+ year old saplings. I just don't have the answer as to why and have not been able to find someone who even seems to understand what question I'm asking, let alone why.

I don't know why I've had complete failure with B.Edulis and related species and I'm not familiar with the variation you're describing so I've never been able to observe the myceliums growth habits. The other tree loving fungus I have colonized I have been able to develop methods to grow starter colonies in the absence of tree roots. Just not with edulis or related. I have successfully fruited 8 chanterelles without the mycorrhizal relationship which I replaced with serious financial burden and moderate danger. Nothing else.

In order to give the spores a better chance of success, I would just dig into some of the root system that's closer to the surface and directly inoculate with raw spore. If the species seems to be easier going than other's, it would probably be the best chance for short term success....versus attempting a starter colony.

In certain terms, while I am not positive, it does seem perfectly reasonable that a tree with such rapid ascent into maturity would be a more inviting host and much easier for spores to colonize than slower growing, needier species as the root system would be exponentially more developed than it's similarly aged peers.

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Thanks Brian for such a thorough answer. It sure would be nice to have one of the most common and fastest growing trees in eastern N.C. producing lots of B. edulis every fall.

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No problem John, I made that post while moderately sleep deprived, so I'm kind of surprised I managed to make any sense.

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