Shiitake Substrate ideas

Did you know there are many more types of substrate to grow Shiitake on not just Oak. At the same time you're saving the environment and making a cheaper product for your customers without affecting your bottom line. That same hard wood log you throw on your fire at night that burns for maybe an hour or so could provide you with more than it's weight in mushrooms.

Straw Logs

Straw is an inexpensive substrate for a Shiitake variety I sell. They will crop quicker too.


Hardwood Logs

You can use many hardwood logs not just Oak.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee Grounds are plentiful and under utilised when growing mushrooms. With a little leg work your main substrate could be free.

Saw Dust and Wood Chip

A great way to deal with large logs, just get them chipped, branches too small chip them as well and use the grow bag option.

Substrate Opportunities

The BE (Biological Efficiency) of Shiitake will be at least 100%, that is you will get the same weight of the log converted into mushrooms, remember that mushrooms are mainly water and if you keep your substrates well hydrated it is possible to acheive a BE of 125%-150%. I will give you a few idea's to get you thinking. Any questions please ring or email me.

Shiitake Subtrate ideas

  • Coffee grounds are dumped every day into landfills around NZ. Just approach any cafe and they will be glad to see the back of them. Aside from adding 10% wheat bran to the coffee grounds your substrate for growing Shiitake is free. Any of the Shiitake strains I sell will grow on coffee grounds.
  • Straw is an inexpensive substrate for a Shiitake strain I sell. It crops faster than on logs and with a little innovation towards pasteurisation this strain will be reliable and consistent. The straw strain has a very large cap size for a Shiitake.
  • Hardwood/oak logs have always been used to grow Shiitake. The Shiitake 3782 strain will grow on almost any Harwood log not just Oak. If you have access to Oak use it especially if you are exporting, they will fetch a higher price. (angiosperms) or flowering tree species are considered Hardwood and good for Shiitake cultivation. You can use Poplar, Cherry any prunus species, Willow, Apple/Pear,  Eucalyptus (highly desirable), Wattle(Acacia) think of exotic trees that lose their leaves in winter and you should have a good idea of what can be used. NZ natives like Tawa can also be used. The denser the logs the longer they will fruit for. Logs between 75-150mm are ideal, larger logs will take longer to start fruiting, up to 2 years but they may also fruit for 10-15 years. Stay away from highly aromatic tree species like Pine (gymnosperms) which are considered soft wood species. Wood species like Tawa and Prunus species which are quite dense are better chipped and used in substrate bags for artificial logs.
  • Hardwood woodchip can be obtained by splitting and chipping any logs that were too large for lInoculation. Or by contacting firewood sellers, tree fellers or keeping an eye on trademe for suitable firewood.   
  • Contact Firewood sellers in your area for Gum species. They are an ideal candidate for Shiitake production. You are looking for recently felled logs between 75 and 150mm in diameter and it's a chance for them to make a profit on logs that arent even dry yet. Most will have an area they are storing logs to dry before they are split ready for sale.