Eucalyptus Study Findings 2018

Monitoring of the three sites that we included in our study concluded in September 2018.

We had good results with the Redwood Park, Oakland site of nineteen stumps with all stumps being sprout free since October 2017. In Tilden Park, Berkeley, we monitored sixteen stumps and fourteen of them were sprout free and two had diminished growth from our very earliest records.
The Orinda site is still a bit of an enigma in that of the twenty-nine stumps, fourteen are sprout free, some are greatly diminished, but about four have shown extreme vigor. We’re still questioning what it is about these four rogue stumps that has allowed them to still prosper while other inoculated stump growth is declining.

We realize that of the parameters we set on this early test some important variables were not accounted for and that overall a more detailed study on a larger scale is still called for. We hope to do this in a collaboration between East Bay Regional Parks Department, UC. Berkeley, Cal State East Bay and ourselves. Hopefully, this coming year.

Currently we are gathering new eucalyptus loving fungi and testing each one’s efficacy in the lab. Because of the diversity of the fungi found at our sites we hope to select the best performing two to work with in this future project. The candidates to date are Laetiporus gilbertsonii, Trametes versicolor, Stereum hirsutum, Chondrostereum purpureum, Crepidotus mollis and Phellinus gilvus.
Other variables to consider: slope, aspect, runoff, diameter, exposure, and precis measuring of sprout removal. We’re looking forward to it.

Eucalyptus Stump Remediation (Phase 2)

Early October is within our six month window to continue to track the growth of eucalyptus sprouting and possible decomposition of the inoculated stumps. The California dry season also falls within this six month window and we did not expect to see much mycelial growth, but we did notice some. Both Laetiporus gilbersonii and Trametes versicolor plus an, as yet, unidentified polypore are found growing in the immediate vicinity and in two cases on inoculated stumps. We also found mycelia growing in the inoculations.

At Redwood and Tilden Parks we weighed the removed material, at Gateway we did not. There was a surprising bit of variation in the amount of sprouting that the individual stumps produced. While an average weight of 4 pounds was typical we did find stumps that produced as much as sixteen pounds and also some that had no growth at all. This will provide us with a baseline to chart future changes.

We took GPS coordinates for future researchers to locate our site and those will be available in the near future.

Sprouting on stump
Sprouting on stump
Mycelia on stump
Mycelia on stump
Sulphur Shelf on tree
Sulphur Shelf on tree
Sulphur Shelf on stump
Sulphur Shelf on stump (2)
Turkey Tails on log
Turkey Tails on log
Unidentified polypore on stump
Unidentified polypore on stump

Eucalyptus Stump Remediation (Phase 1)

‘Better Living Through Mycology’

BAAM had an eventful April, 2016. We began initial testing of our approach to decomposing Eucalyptus stumps at three locations in the East Bay hills. We were able to partner with the East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) on one of them and with the East Bay Regional Park (EBRP) system on two others. We inoculated sixty nine recently cut stumps at the three locations.

Why this is important is because the chosen method for the decomposition of eucalyptus stumps is the application of ‘Garlon’ a specialty herbicide that’s quite controversial to local communities downstream of the applied area. We hope that a successful inoculation of two locally sourced saprophytic fungi, Laetiporus gilbertsonii (Sulphur Shelf) and Trametes versicolor (Turkey Tail) will shorten the decomposition time of the Eucalyptus stumps and forestall the future application of herbicide. Eucalyptus, love it or hate it, is a very successful propagator. Not only can it regenerate from cut stumps but the downed logs and even the chips have a substantially long decomposition time. Public agencies like EBMUD and EBRP feel the need to quickly reduce fuel as a means of fire suppression and also to lessen the labor load of frequent site visits to remove new sprouts originating from the stumps. A ‘natural’ method sometimes lags behind in terms of time as beneficial fungi are not always in the immediate vicinity of the cut area. If our inoculation can shorten this period than perhaps the use of Garlon type products will be used as a last resort instead of a default practice. Our goal is to move from ‘better living through chemistry’ to ‘better living through mycology’.

Our basic technique is for the cut end of the stumps to be prepared by cross-hatching grooves into them to serve as an anchoring surface for the prepared spawn to be pressed into. The spawn was prepared for us by Far West Fungi in Moss Landing who took local specimens, cultured them and grew them out on oak sawdust. The Laetiporus gilbertsonii is a cellulose decomposer and the Trametes versicolor a lignin one so we felt we could grow both together on certain stumps but we also spread our experiment around to include both single specie inoculations and controlled ‘no inoculation’ samples. In some cases we prepared eucalyptus dowels grown in myceliated spawn and plugged directly into non cut end horizontal surfaces. Afterwards we covered the working area in burlap to retain additional moisture and we tagged the stumps for data entry.

Our continued responsibility is to return every six months to monitor the sites, cut and weigh any new sprouts and keep an accurate journal of observations and conclusions we can take from this research. Hopefully, the mycelia will compare well and entities like our Park system will make it a permanent feature in their ‘best practice’ toolbox.


Bringing material to Redwood Park, Oakland site.
We also inoculated in Tilden Park, Berkeley and at the Gateway in Orinda.


Some tools of the trade.


EBRP Ranger Justin Neville preparing stump.


Prepared stump.


On site.


Breaking up spawn.


Alan and Max pressing in spawn.


Sean pounding in myceliated dowels.

Mycorrhized Oak Seedlings

Mycorrhized Oak Seedlings Collaboration between

the East Bay Muncicpal Utility District

and Bay Area Applied Mycology (2012)


In February of 2012 Bay Area Applied Mycology (BAAM) inaugurated our first project with EBMUD. The object was to add mycorrhizal fungi to Live Oak seedlings in the EBMUD nursery. Mycorrhizal fungi have a very important symbiotic relationship with all specie of plant life and young plants especially gain benefits from the establishment of fungi interlaced with their root system.

The Live Oak seedling were to be planted in various areas of the EBMUD watershed in April and little time was available to use the practice of growing seedling among known Mother trees (*), trees that have established mycorrhizal partners. This is the most preferred method but seedling grown thusly need between one to three years to acquire the fungal partners that are growing in that area. It was necessary that we use the more expedient method of gathering local mycorrhizals, stripping the spore bearing gills and stems, pureeing them together and pouring the resultant slurry directly onto the nursery seedling. A group of five people took part in a collecting foray on four occasions and brought back what mycorrhizals we found growing amidst Live Oak. The predominant species were Cantharellus californius and Clitocybe Nuda.

The actual planting of the seedling took place in various parts of the Orinda Watershed. For our part we joined together with a 6th grade science class from the Black Pine Circle School of Berkeley and combined the planting of ten of the seedlings with a mycological lecture: from life cycle to beneficial purposes.

(*) What else we learned. Although the Mother Tree idea is a good one, planting seedlings at a MT. location and transplanting them later, one can also opt to remove some soil from a Mother Tree site and plant your seedling directly into it. Bear in mind that this will work best when the seedling are of an age that they can produce enough sugars to support both themselves and their mycorrhizal partners.



One day’s collection of Cantharellus californius. Notice mycelium growning on stem butt


Live Oak seedlings in EBMUD nursery

The children broke up into teams and did the actual hand’s on planting and our team of volunteers went behind to tag and take GPS coordinates for future study.


Monica and Mino tagging tree and taking GPS Co-ordinate


Tagged Oak seedling


A job well done


*We are sorry that we are not allowed to include pictures of the children who helped us in this fine effort. Apparantly there are privacy issues.

Orinda Willow Planting Feb 24th

This morning a small group of us volunteered to help EBMUD with a creek restoration project in Orinda. The current landscape in Orinda has been heavily shaped and degraded by roughly a hundred years of cattle grazing. Over grazing has striped the riparian corridors of the native trees plants and shrubs which originally grew there and has left the streams prone to erosion.
We planted live willow stakes, live branch bundles and a few buckeye starts. We estimate that about 200 feet of creek bed/banks were heavily planted to jump start the regeneration of this seasonal creek. Some of the willows you see in the background were planted there fifteen years ago by the same Ranger and methods used today. This creek feeds into a larger stream that is known habitat of the steelhead trout.

We enjoyed the camaraderie and had plenty of time to speculate about new projects that we can instigate in the watershed. Thanks to Ranger Virginia of EBMUD for making it all happen. Thanks to BAAM members Mino, Ken, Ariel, Enrique, Claire, Sarah, Sean, both Michaels and both Maxs.

BAAM Crew gathering at the site
BAAM Crew gathering at the site
Ranger Virginia explaining the process
Ranger Virginia explaining the process
Willow Steaks
Willow Steaks
Hard at work!
Hard at work!

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Stropharia Installation in Orinda

Using Mushroom Mycelium to Filter Bacteria from EBMUD Watershed – Bay Area Applied Mycology

East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) in collaboration with Bay Area Applied Mycology.



Scott Hill, Manager of Watershed and Recreation

Jonathan Price, Fisheries and Wildlife Aide

Virginia Northrop, Senior Ranger



Bay Area Applied Mycology (BAAM) , a group that utilizes fungus and other natural organisms to remediate the environment, has formed a partnership with East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) in Orinda, California to develop a filtration system made from mushroom spawn (mycelium) to filter harmful bacteria from EBMUD watersheds. EBMUD provides drinking water for the greater East Bay of California, and EBMUD intends to prevent harmful bacteria from contaminating their water source.

EBMUD allows cattle to graze their lands for a short period of time. During rainstorms, bacteria and protozoa present in cattle dung leach into creek beds that eventually lead to water reservoirs. These reservoirs supply drinking water to the greater East Bay of California. EBMUD currently utilizes Chloramine to eliminate harmful bacteria and protozoa. EBMUD intends to prevent water contamination by employing filtration systems.

This report details BAAM’s method for developing a system using mushroom mycelium to satisfy EBMUD’s request to prevent their water from becoming contaminated with harmful bacteria and protozoa.



The purpose of this project was to develop a low-cost method to filter harmful bacteria from water by utilizing fungus. We developed a filtration system utilizing large amounts of mycelium that was intended to capture and eliminate bacteria that would otherwise be harmful to humans if ingested.

Due to the success of Paul Stamets, who has shown success in filtering and eliminating Escherichia coli using mushroom mycelium as a filter, BAAM and EBMUD intend to find similar success. “The filter” is an aggregate of many burlap sacks filled with a mixture of straw and wood chips colonized by mushroom mycelium.

This project has established strategies for developing these filters and applying them to creek beds which may experience turbulent flows of water.

EBMUD currently removes cattle from their lands before rain falls, however cow dung remains standing when rains occur. By developing a system to filter bacteria. EBMUD intends to prevent any harmful bacteria, such as Escherichia coli, and protozoa such as Giardia lamblia and species of Cryptosporidium, from reaching the reservoir.

The reservoir is currently treated with Chloramine. Chloramine is considered more stable than chlorine, does not dissipate as rapidly as chlorine (refer to “Dealing with chlorine and chloramine”), and imparts less flavor. EBMUD extracts and tests water samples from several towers located in the reservoir.

BAAM fostered the development of the mycelium used in the filter. EBMUD has supplied counseling for the instruments and efforts needed to test for bacteria levels within the water.

The mycelium of several species of mushrooms have shown to eliminate E. coli in water by capturing and eliminating bacterias (Stamets, 62). Mycelium, the larger body of the mushroom organism, exudes metabolites into its surrounding environment which capture and consume bacterias, as well as breaks down and degrades organic material into simpler structures.

Mycelium is a ropy web of filaments that lives inside it’s food. Because of its microscopic nature, it battles with other microscopic organisms for territory. Mycelium expands to colonize and feed from available organic material (known as substrate). By processing straw and introducing mycelium to that material, we will “ramp up” the amount of mycelium that can be bagged and used as part of this filtration system.



Several considerations have risen while developing this project. These topics will be further elaborated in this report:

  • which species of mycelium can best filter bacteria from water when applied strategically
  • how to develop a repeatable method to prove the effectiveness of this system
  • how to construct a filter that will withstand the forces of a heavy water current
  • the optimal location of our filter
  • the optimal way to structure the filter so that all water flowing into its path will collect and pass through the mycelium
  • how to generate massive amounts of spawn effectively
  • the cost of this system
  • cost reduction for future applications
  • what are other methods of filtration and how does ours compare with labor, cost, and effectiveness


Choosing a Fitting Mushroom Species for Filtration

Each mushroom species excels at deconstructing and consuming specific material. For this project, based on observation and information previously published (refer to “Mycoremediation Species and Spawn” and Stamets pgs 51, 60, and 192), we decided to use Stropharia rugoso-annulata. S. rugoso-annulata can be purchased from commercial spawn growers, and has already shown to grow well on straw in home tests. Because it’s grown commercially, we were able to obtain blocks of it easily to implement into our project (at a cost).

Although BAAM prefers to use a local mushroom species found on EBMUD property, we selected this species of mushroom because of its reputed ability to thrive in bacteria-rich environments and its ability to colonize large volumes of material quickly (refer to “Mycoremediation in Action!”).

However, while surveying possible sites to apply the filter, we observed at least three species of mushrooms growing directly from cow dung. Because these mushrooms have already shown preference for bacteria-rich environments, and because they grow locally, we believe future tests utilizing this fungus may yield exceptional results. The speed at which the mycelium of these species grows and their ability to colonize large volumes of material quickly must be observed before proper implementation.

Strains of Pleurotus pulmonarius and Pleurotus ostreatus were also considered for their ability to quickly colonize available organic material and in future testing we hope to incorporate them.


Developing a Filter that Will Withstand the Forces of Heavy Currents

One of the observations made concerning this project was that during rare events of extremely heavy rainfall the water in the creek beds flows at turbulent speeds. BAAM installed a system that is intended to withstand the forces of this heavy water current.

We considered using a combination of rebar and chicken wire to prevent the burlap sacks from moving, or to use rebar and stakes to hold the burlap sacks in place. We settled on the latter.

Placing the filter upstream of any cow pies could likely result in a failure to eliminate harmful bacterias from reaching the EBMUD reservoir. We placed our filter in an area downstream of cattle grazing.


Generating Mass Amounts of Spawn Effectively

Intending to eliminate the use of nonrenewable resources, BAAM sought to expand the amount of available mycelium by preparing substrate using the cold fermentation method. As opposed to pasteurizing straw, which uses large quantities of fuel to heat water, cold fermentation is a method of preparing straw for inoculation without any heat source.

To process straw using cold fermentation, straw was submerged in water and left to soak for eleven days. Although temperature may play a role in the fermentation process, a week is typically sufficient. This method destroys aerobic bacteria and organisms living dormant on the straw. The presence of a sour smell was a good indicator that the process was succeeding. After eleven days, the straw was removed and allowed to drain.

The straw was organized into small piles and mushroom spawn was scattered equally into the fermented straw at a rate of 1:10 to 1:20, spawn to straw, by volume. The straw was then consolidated into one pile.

Jonathan_and_VirginiaJonathan and Virginia of EBMUD fill a trough with straw. Mino and Mark look on.

The trough was filled with water and the straw allowed to soak for a week. November 8, 2012. Photo by Joe Soeller.

The water that was used to soak the straw was emptied onto the blended substrate as a final dampening. The straw pile was then thinned to no more than a foot high to allow the mycelium opportunity to breathe. The edges were packed together to lend more structure to the colonizing mycelium. A tarp was used to cover the material and checked weekly to monitor the spawn’s effectiveness at colonizing the substrate.




Small piles of straw were first made and inoculated with equal amounts of spawn, then all

piles were consolidated and covered with a tarp. November 19, 2012. Photo by Joe Soeller.

The spawn effectively colonized the substrate when the straw held tenaciously together by ropy white strands of mycelium. The external layer of straw did not exhibit white mycelium because that layer dried out and was exposed to weathering.


The straw was checked about 3 weeks after being inoculated. Ropy strands

of mycelium dominate the fermented straw. December 10, 2012. Photo by Joe Soeller.


A close up of the healthy mycelium. December 10, 2012. Photo by Joe Soeller.

After the straw was colonized by Stropharia rugoso-annulata mycelium, it was blended at a 1:1 ratio with fresh woodchips. We then filled burlap sacks with this straw-wood chip blend. The burlap sacks were sewn shut to prevent the substrate blend from spilling out of the bags.

The advantage of this method of first applying sterile spawn to fermented straw then to wood chips and “ramping up” the colony allowed us to cheaply and effectively produce twenty to forty times the amount of spawn originally introduced to the substrate, all without using fuel.

The disadvantage is that this system for “ramping up spawn” is slower than pasteurizing straw and applying spawn immediately. However, with foresight and planning, this process was handled with little effort.

This method saves the cost of purchasing fuel such as propane, and doesn’t deal with potential hazards of heat and flame. Since the spawn was expanded prior to filling burlap sacks, this method also saved us the cost of purchasing enough spawn to inoculate both the straw and the wood chips that filled the burlap sacks.


Method Costs

The cost of this method depended on how spawn was produced and with what materials the spawn was grown on. With our current system, we decided to purchase eleven 5.5 lb bags of commercial spawn of Stropharia rugoso-annulata from Field and Forest Products located in Wisconsin at $15.75 a piece (price-break at different quantities). If we developed the spawn in a private cultivation laboratory, the cost could be significantly reduced, considering the expense of laboratory equipment. However, labor times would increase.

A bale of straw (60-90 lbs) typically costs between five and ten dollars. We used five bales of straw.

Although farmed wheat straw was used as a substrate, it isn’t necessary. Straw is inexpensive and easy to acquire, however. If using local plant life is an important consideration, local grasses and plant material can be mowed or hacked down and left to dry before processing them in the cold fermentation method. Again, doing so would raise labor times.

Box elder and willow wood chips were provided for the project by EBMUD.

Burlap sacks, originally used to transport green coffee beans, were provided free-of-charge by Peet’s Coffee.

As part of the study plan (see below), the cost of developing an isolated system to test levels of bacteria and protozoa using gravity fed water in a tube and constructing a filter will be considered when definite plans are developed.



For spawn generation:

Spawn, straw, water, troughs/containers, tarps, wood chips (box elder, willow), pitchforks

Constructing the grids of burlap sacks:

Burlap sacks, wood chips, myceliated substrate (straw), rebar, stakes, wheelbarrows, mallets


Developing a Repeatable Method to Prove the Effectiveness of the Mycelium Filter, a Study Plan

In an effort to illustrate the effectiveness of this system, to eliminate as many variables as possible, and as a way for others to repeat the experiment to prove its worth, EBMUD suggested BAAM develop a system that was isolated from the natural environment.

The purpose of this system is to show that bacteria-contaminated water, when gravity fed through a mycelium filter, will exit the system into a catch showing either no or less bacteria than was previously present.

Cost is an important factor in developing this method.

Several tests of the creek water can be held:

  • the raw creek water itself, to demonstrate the presence of bacteria and protozoa
  • the same test of the the water post-filtration

Water that is poured onto the colonized substrate may take a long while before the water reaches a catch. A trickle-fed system may be the best method of introducing water to the filter, and most closely emulates a natural environment. A trickle-fed system will allow water to saturate the mycelium and continue flowing through the filter without overflowing.

Given the freedom of time and testing, several variables can be eliminated from this test:

  • How thick must the colonized substrate be to filter bacteria from water?
  • What strain of mycelium most efficiently filters bacteria from water?
  • What substrate works best to support the filter? For instance, straw, wood chips, or a blend?
  • And to combine the two variables: what strain of mycelium growing on which substrate works best to filter water? (This consideration could be scenario-based. There might be no silver bullet.)
  • What is more optimal: A) a loosely colonized filter of larger volume, or B) a tightly colonized filter of smaller volume. (The rate of flow of water is important to consider when handling high-flow creeks. Think of a tightly knit barricade versus a loosely woven course).
  • At what rate does water flow through the system (once the colonized substrate has been saturated by water)? This information is important to consider when building large-scale filter.

Unfortunately, we’ve run into some roadblocks. Although we currently don’t have the funds to run sufficient testing, we are raising funds for such tests. If you are interested in donating or supporting this effort, please contact project director Mino de Angelis,, to support the matter.



“Dealing with chlorine and chloramine.” The Skeptical Aquarist. Published March 21, 2011. Accessed

February 20, 2013.

“Mycoremediation in Action!” Perma Dub Dream. Published November 12, 2010. Accessed November 18,


“Mycoremediation Species and Spawn.” Mushroom Mountain. Accessed February 20, 2013.

Srivastava, P. “Alleviating Water Quality Impacts of Animal Waste Through Mycoremediation and

Mycofiltration.” Auburn University. Accessed November 18, 2012

Stamets, Paul. Mycelium Running. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press, 2005.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

With a large group of volunteers, BAAM was able to install the bio-filtration patch in a swale on the EBMUD property. Myceliated straw was mixed with uninoculated wood chips and stuffed into burlap sacks. The sacks were then sewn shut with yarn to prevent the spawn and wood chips from spilling out.

Next, the burlap sacks were wheelbarrowed to the swale and formed into two grids, the upstream grid being on the cattle grazing side, the downstream grid being on the other side of the fence where cattle have not grazed.

72 total bags were installed between two grids. With 16 volunteers, the installation took about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

We used pitchforks for mixing, shovels for filling the burlap bags, and large needle pullers to tie the burlap bags. We used sledge hammers for driving the stakes.

Once at the site, we slightly overlapped the burlap sacks over each other and stakes were driven through them at various locations. We used 24″ wooden stakes and 3/8″ rebar U’s to pin them to the creek bed. We used the U’s at both section’s front and back. They straddled two bags at once.

Period photographs will be taken to observe the growth of the mycelium, the decomposition of materials, and how flowing water affects the installation.



Volunteers discuss how to combine myceliated straw and the wood chips.

Photo by Sean Parnell


Volunteers mix wood chips with myceliated straw into burlap sacks. Photo by Sean Parnell

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Monica sews filled burlap sacks. Mino looks on. Photo by Sean Parnell


Monica illustrates how the bags are sewn shut. Photo by Michael Mees


Volunteers discuss the installation as they build it. Photo by Maya Elson


The myco-filtration installation. Nearest to camera is upstream of swale.

On the other side of the fence is the downstream grid. Photo by Sean Parnell


This photo is looking upstream of the swale. Photo by Sean Parnell


A close up of one of the installation grids. Stakes were used to hold burlap sacks in place

Photo by Sean Parnell


Another angle of the swale and the installation of the burlap sacks.

Photo by Maya Elson


Photo taken February 6, 2013, three weeks after installation. Shows the mycelium is healthy

and active and is fusing together between the burlap sacks. Photo by Sean Parnell

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Two months later and the bags are bursting with fungal life!


Photo taken May 17 shows large fruiting of Stropharia from within the deteriorating bags.

We made monthly visits to the site and starting in April we observed the beginning of the fruiting


There are two separated areas for the experiment and the one showing the most bag

                  deterioration showed signs of animal incursion.

We are very pleased by the viability of the spawn, we think that this method placed in the appropriate location can prove very effective in mitigating bacterial effluent. Although for our test we chose a seasonal stream channel the watershed area is just too great to mitigate it all. A future test of interest is to site it around cattle holding corrals where slow moving but constant discharge can slowly pass through the filtration bags and become decontaminated.


Photo May 17  A happy Sean Parnell with a single cluster of Stropharia



Mycoforestry: decomposition of felled pine

Report on Monterey Pine Decomposition by Bay Area Applied Mycology on EBMUD Duffel Meadow

Part One

East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD) in collaboration with Bay Area Applied Mycology (BAAM).

Scott Hill, Manager of Watershed and Recreation
Virginia Northrop, Senior Ranger

On November 13, 2012 three members of BAAM inoculated a freshly fallen Monterey Pine, Pinus radiata, with the spawn of Oyster Mushroom, Pleurotus pulmonarius, with the intention of enhancing the tree’s rate of decomposition. The fallen tree is located in a Monterey Pine grove on the property of the East Bay Municipal Utilities District (EBMUD) in Orinda, California.

On December 10, 2012 four members of BAAM inoculated a second fallen Monterey Pine with different species of mushroom mycelium. This procedure is discussed and pictures are displayed further into this report.

Amendments and observations are added to the end of the report.

The purpose of this project is to develop a new method for EBMUD to handle felled and fallen trees that will both A) eliminate the cost of removing fallen trees from EBMUD property, B) keep natural materials on site and C) reduce fire vulnerability.

EBMUD currently utilizes horses to haul fallen trees from their property. This current method reduces potential fuel for fires. However, hiring horses to haul fallen trees can be a fairly costly operation, and doing so also removes organic materials from the site.

By introducing mushroom spawn (also known as mycelium) into the freshly fallen tree, BAAM hopes to enhance the tree’s rate of decomposition. Once the spawn has been introduced to the tree, no further modifications will be made. Later stages of decomposition via bacteria and other fungi will occur naturally.

A secondary benefit of introducing mycelium to the fallen tree is a way of storing water inside the tree while the decomposition process occurs, thus potentially preventing the tree from becoming fodder for fires.

This project hopes to create new solutions and act as a source of observation for future projects.

This tree’s decomposition will be observed and documented over the next decade.

What is considered “successful decomposition” hasn’t been determined, however BAAM estimates the process will take five to ten years.

Notes and Observations
The Monterey Pines in the grove were planted in the 1940s. They are considered to be at the end of their life cycle. Because they were planted in a non-native habitat, they are beginning to weaken and fall.

This specific tree was chosen because it had fallen due to apparent natural causes and was still fresh. The tree was in a spacious and shaded grove of other Monterey Pines.

On Documentation
Periodic observation and documentation is necessary to track the results of this project. Checking and documenting changes to the site should occur once a season/four times a year. We don’t know for certain how long the tree will take to decompose. We theorize five to ten years. We don’t know for sure, and we haven’t decided what stage of decomposition is considered “successfully decomposed” enough to prevent it from fueling fires.

Materials and Labor
The on-site process took three hours, working comfortably, with three men sharing labor.

Two strains of Pleurotus pulmonarius mushroom spawn were used. The organic material used to inoculate the trees was spawned wooden dowels and spawned wheat straw. The first strain, which was grown on wooden dowels, was supplied by Fungi Perfecti. The second strain, which was initially grown on millet, then transferred and allowed to colonize on wheat straw, was purchased from Amycel.

Equipment: a chainsaw; some drills, drill bits, and batteries; nails; hammer; dowel spawn and straw spawn; rope; a crowbar; paraffin wax; a pot and stove in which to melt the wax; gloves to protect against heat of the wax; a brush to apply the melted wax; burlap bags; water

The Procedure
Six areas of the tree were modified. A large portion of the tree wasn’t modified. The following documentation includes photographs which may help to understand the procedures and materials used.


The freshly fallen Monterey Pine

Area 1:

Area 1 is closest to the base of the tree. Sean drilled about 150 holes into the tree with a 5/16” drill bit and plugged the holes with Pleurotus pulmonarius spawned dowels from Fungi Perfecti. By using a nail as a punch, we were able to hammer the dowels about an inch below the surface. I covered a few of those plugged spots with paraffin wax.


Sean drills holes into tree. Exposed dowels are shown before they were hammered into the tree

Area 2:

Mino scored the tree in a grid with a chainsaw. I stuffed it with Pleurotus pulmonarius straw spawn from one of Mino’s bags. The spawn originated from Amycel. The modified area was then covered with a soaked burlap sack and tied to the tree. The use of the burlap bag was intended to prevent direct sunlight from affecting the area, to trap in moisture, and to allow it to breathe.


Mino scores Area 2 of the tree


Gashes stuffed with straw spawn in Area 2


Scored and inoculated section covered with a burlap sack in Area

We originally intended to lift the bark off the fallen tree in sections so that we could apply the spawn directly to the exposed wood, then place the sections of bark back onto the tree as a protective covering. However, when we pulled at the bark, it chipped off. We instead decided to inoculate the tree by scoring the tree and stuffing the gashes with spawn, then covering the inoculated area with a burlap sack.


Instead of lifting off in sections, bark chipped off

Area 3:

Same as Area 2 and covered with burlap. The burlap sack was nailed to the tree in 6 points.


Sean stands over Area 3 before it was covered with a burlap sack

Area 4:

A sort of control group. Mino scored this area like he did with Areas 2 and 3, but we decided to leave the area uncovered and uninoculated in order to observe how this area of the fallen tree would rot over time in comparison to the inoculated areas.


Area 4, left scored but uninoculated and uncovered

Area 5:

Mino cut wedges into the tree with a chainsaw and I filled the exposed surface areas with Pleurotus pulmonarius spawn originally from Amycel. Straw was forced into the area around the wedge with a crowbar. We then covered the area with a soaked burlap sack and nailed it to the tree.


Area 5 before burlap covering


Wedge sections of Area 5

Area 6:

Mino drilled holes into Area 6 and stuffed the holes with Fungi Perfecti’s Pleurotus pulmonarius spawned dowels just like Area 1. I covered nearly all the holes with melted paraffin wax. The wax is meant to both protect the mycelium from bugs and trap moisture in the holes.


Paraffin wax covering a hole inoculated by dowel spawn, Area 6



A Second Tree is Inoculated

On December 10, 2012, BAAM inoculated a second fallen tree in close proximity to the first with three different strains of mushroom, two of which were collected on EBMUD property.


It is with the goals and visions of BAAM to utilize local strains of mushrooms.


The three strains of mushrooms used includes a locally sampled strain of Pleurotus pulmonarius provided by Far West Fungi, and two strains of as-of-yet not identified species of wood-rotters. The wood-rotters in question were collected from wood chip piles in front of the EBMUD property. Myceliated wood chips, as well as mushroom fruit bodies of these strains were collected.


Currently, these strains are suspected of being a Pholiota sp. and a Gymnopilus sp. Identification still required. They were fruiting prodigiously from the wood chips, and digging through a shallow layer of the wood chips revealed the mycelium was “running” strong.


Local wood rotter with running mycelium


Mino collects mushrooms and wood chips covered with mycelium Monica snaps photos


Locally collected mushrooms and wood chips. Possibly “Psathyrella sp.”


As with the first tree, parts of this tree were scored in order to insert spawn. This method was designed to accelerate the decomposition of the tree. The four areas of the second tree are labeled Areas 7 through 10.

Area 7:

A section of the tree closest to its base was scored in wedges. Sawdust spawn colonized by Pleurotus pulmonarius provided by Far West Fungi was then packed into the open sections of the tree and the wedges were replaced. We covered the area with burlap. The burlap is intended to provide shade and to trap moisture.


Katie, Monica, and Canus mycophilicus Issa packspawn into the openings of the tree

Area 8:

Parallel cuts were scored into the tree, and the same spawn from Area 7 was applied to the opening of the tree. We covered the area with burlap.


Monica and Katie stuffing the tree with Pleurotus pulmonarius.

Area 9:

Wedges were scored into the tree. The fruit bodies and the wood chips with mycelium of a Psathyrella sp. [needs proper identification] were then placed onto the opening and covered with burlap. By using both myceliated wood chips and mushroom fruit bodies, we intend for both active cultures and potential new strains germinated from the spores of the mushroom to colonize and thrive within the wounds of the fallen tree.


Wedges were cut and filled with local myceliated wood chips and mushrooms

Area 10:

On a segment of the tree that was separated from its larger body, we applied myceliated wood chips and the fruit bodies of a mushroom we suspect to be a Gymnopilus sp. [identification needed] that was collected in front of the EBMUD office. We scored the area in stripes, removed the bark, applied the mushroom and wood chips, replaced the bark, and covered the area with a burlap bag.


The scored area of the tree is filled with myceliated wood chips and mushroom fruit bodies


Note-taker Joe sketches mushrooms next to Area 10



As an ongoing effort to track the progress of this project, we have taken periodic photographs.
Area 7, February 9, 2013


Photo by Mino de Angelis

This photo shows the health of the spawn of Area 7. Although we don’t know if the mushrooms are fruiting solely from the sawdust spawn provided by Far West Fungi or if it is decomposing and extracting any nutrients from the fallen tree, this fruiting shows that the spawn is at least active, and has enough moisture to produce mushrooms.
Area 8, February 9, 2013


Photo by Mino de Angelis

Area 8 is exhibiting the same traits as Area 7 as shown above.


As a continued update: In 2013 oyster mushrooms were found fruiting in areas of the log that were not directly inoculated. The mycelium appears to be running.
In 2015, three years into a devastating drought, the initial log that was inoculated was cut through close to our inoculation point. The exposed area shows decomposition has moved toward the core of the tree. As the lignin and cellulose decompose they reduce the threat of flammability of the log.


Decomposition starting from the perimeter toward center of log


Old Man Ridge Inoculation of Felled Pines with Mushroom Spawn

Part Two

Introduction: Based on the success of our earlier test on Pine in Duffel Meadow we thought it feasible to inoculate additional felled Pines that EBMUD, due to disease and age,  had taken down in an area known as Old Man Ridge. In November of 2012 BAAM inoculated about twenty-five of these trees with an assortment of myceliated spawn contributed to us by Far West Fungi.  We used one of the  original species, Pleurotus pulmonarius, but also experimented with Hericium erinaceus and at a later date added some locally harvested saprophytes: Gymnopilus junonius and Phaeolus schweinitzii.


The trees were felled by a team of professional loggers and laid in stacks about 6 to 8 logs 10 feet long. They were then notched according to our instructions. The notches were large enough to allow the crevices to be stuffed with spawn and the wedges to be reinstalled to mitigate moisture loss.  On our first outing a team of 15 volunteers stuffed the logs with spawn. Subsequent site visits were done with a team of four that tagged and noted GPS coordinates of the logs to allow follow-up studies.


We allowed for both inoculated logs and a control group of uninoculated logs.

In 2013 we noticed a high success rate amongst the Pleurotus pulmonarius inoculated logs.




View from Old Man Ridge


An example of the log grouping that we inoculated


The prepared notches


The team getting their first look at the method we will employ


Packing spawn into the notches


Oysters growing the next year from out of notch


Gymnopilus junonius fruiting from a pine stump


GPS Coordinates for follow-up study

To date 2015, despite Northern California’s three year drought, we have had enough favorable results to continue with the project on additional felled pine. For the 2014 season EBMUD personnel both notched and inoculated another 50 trees with Pleurotus pulmonarius provided by Far West Fungi. BAAM will continue to monitor all three of these sites.