DIY Log inoculation

DIY Log inoculation

Embarking on the journey of growing mushrooms on logs can seem easy and exciting! However, it's important to keep in mind that your results can greatly depend on your experience and understanding of living systems. If you haven't grasped some crucial aspects, you might find yourself feeling like you've wasted your time, money, and hard work. But don't worry, with a little knowledge and attention to detail, you'll be on your way to successful mushroom cultivation!

When it comes to growing mushrooms on logs, understanding how mycelium grows and what it requires to produce mushrooms is key. The more knowledge we have about these factors, the better our results will be. By diving into the world of mycelium and its needs, we can enhance our chances of a fruitful and satisfying harvest!

To ensure mushrooms grace your plate or end up in a medicinal tincture, it's crucial to inoculate and work with intention, while paying attention to fine details. Moreover, creating the right environment and providing proper care for your log play a critical role in the journey. Let's now explore the process and uncover the secrets to a successful mushroom-growing endeavor:

Choosing a log:

Size your log correctly. 90 - 100cm in length is good.

A diameter of 8 - 15cm is perfect, the thicker the log, the longer it will take to colonize and for you to yield mushrooms. For a log this size 60 - 80 dowels should be fine depending on the final dimensions.

We'd recommend finding some oak or hardwood tree species with the correct wood and bark characteristics, factoring in your specific climatic conditions and using locally sourced logs.

Logs should be freshly cut and be stored off the ground and away from high microbially active mediums such as decaying material and exposed soil to avoid other fungi and organisms from getting to the exposed areas.

Check out the chart below for tree species and log cultivation. We recommend visiting us or contacting us to test your local substrates before investing significant time and energy into your log cultivation due to the variability of wood characteristics. Our lab offers in house substrate testing and design:

Caution must be advised on best arbor practices so as to avoid damaging of trees. Pruning should be done correctly

Below is a list of the species which have been tried and tested by mycologists mostly in the northern hemisphere , the suitability of a wood and its characteristics even if it is the same species can vary greatly from one location to another there are a number of factors to consider when you are looking for locally sourced substrates and logs for your cultivation requirements.

Afrifungi offers an inhouse substrate testing service and adaptation of best species for local substrates as well as  consulting for the set up of medium to large scaled log cultivation and use of locally derived substrates whether they are exotic or indigenous.

If you are interested in finding out more or getting the right advice about the optimal design for growing on local substrates and setting up the correct systems please mail

The following species can be used for log and stump inoculation:

  • Acer sp. (Maples)
  • Quercus sp. (Oaks)
  • Vachellia sp. (formerly Acacia) - Indigenous Spp available
  • Betula sp. (Birches)
  • Castanaea sp. (Chestnuts)
  • Cinnamomum sp. ( Camphor)
  • Eucalyptus sp.
  • Fagus sp. (Beeches)
  • Fraxinus sp. (Ashes)
  • Liquidambar (Sweetgums)
  • Malus sp. (Apple)
  • Morus sp. (Mulberry)
  • Populus sp. (Poplars)
  • Prunus sp. (Plums)
  • Searsia sp. (Formerly Rhus spp.) Karree - Indigenous Spp
  • Robinia sp.
  • Ulmus sp. (Elms)


Drilling holes:

Use a solid workspace so you don't have to bend down too much and you can easily handle and roll your log.

We want the holes in our log to be the right depth, so measure the dowel on your drill bit and mark it with a piece of tape so you drill each hole precisely with a small gap behind the dowel (2mm)

Now we're ready to start! Ideally a diamond pattern works best for rapid colonization.

Have a look at the shape of your log and determine how best you'd space the dowels to achieve this.


Insert a dowel and have your mallet, ideally a wooden one, ready to hammer the dowel in until it's slightly beneath the level of the bark.

Make sure to check so you don't miss a hole! If you have dowels left, you may add a few holes wherever you like to make sure we don't waste any.

Mushrooms tend to pop out at the inoculated points first.

Sealing and waxing:

Now it's time to seal the ends of our dowels to protect the mycelium from the elements and to keep competitors out. Use a paintbrush or dabber to paint some heated wax onto all exposed dowels. Cheapest options here are either candle or cheese wax, bees wax is also an option, if you have access to a beekeeper or your own hives and wax source.

Log care:

The most important thing here is that our logs do not dry out and are kept away from potential competitive microbes many of which are found in soil.

So keeping them off the ground in a shady and wind still area would be best. A pallet, structure or bricks which won't provide a buildup of decomposing organic material would be best.

An environment that holds good relative humidity is ideal. Water the log at least twice a week if it's dry weather.

Your logs need to be taken care of from the moment of harvest until they are inoculated and throughout the productive lifespan of the log for best results. Failing to do so can lead to endemic fungi colonizing your logs and undesired fungi fruiting from your logs.

If logs are to be left without attention, then you need to have created or found perfect natural conditions or provisioned for the logs and their surrounding environment to have moisture and ambient humidity maintained, for instance shelter from harsh wind and dry, hot conditions.

Cracking of the bark is not good either, as we need to keep moisture in the log and an intact bark makes for a great barrier to the elements and a faster and better mycelial run through your logs. Bark is the protective layer which allows the chosen fungi to successfully colonize the chosen logs.

Sun orientation: remember that if your logs are under shade, that the suns orientation shifts through the seasons and so does it's shade!


Most of our own logs fruit when we get good rains.

However a period of colonisation needs to take place first.

This can take 9 to 18 months, depending on the diameter of the log and how well it is looked after.

Force-fruiting is an option too: Submerge your log in a bath of cold water for 48 hours. This will trigger the mycelium to start producing fruiting bodies, more commonly known as mushrooms. 


Once you see tiny mushrooms forming, also known as pins or primordia, we have about 5 days to go!

Not letting things dry out at this point will ensure you get good, strong and large healthy mushrooms. Misting and maintaining high ambient humidity will help assist pins to fully develop.

We like to harvest ours when they are not too big, or before they start flattening out and producing spores, which, in the right light, can be quite a spectacle. You can pick them off the log, or use a knife to cut them off near to the bark of your log.

Look out for some delicious and easy recipes for your harvested mushrooms soon!

 We hope to see lots of fruiting logs from you all soon!

Your Afrifungi team. 


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