Chaga (Inonotus obliquus) mycelium for logs

Growing chaga mushrooms

Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) is a parasitic fungus that grows on birch trees.

The mushroom is often called the king of medicinal mushrooms and has long been used as a medicinal mushroom in Asia.

Chaga is a relatively rare mushroom as it does not naturally spread as easily. The demand for the mushroom is high and it is only possible to grow it on a live birch tree.

This provides an interesting, additional income opportunity for forest owners with a large number of birch trees in their forests.

Before you start your cultivation project, read all the information below on how to grow Chaga.

But do you really want to grow Chaga mushrooms?
Chaga mushrooms are very slow growing, so you will need a lot of patience, and on the other hand there is not much work involved. So once you have sown chaga mushrooms, you can expect your first harvest in 6-8 years and your second harvest in 4-6 years. It should also be borne in mind that nobody can tell you now how much you will be able to sell your Chaga mushrooms for once you have harvested them. At the moment, demand is growing and it is very profitable to sell the mushrooms, so you can expect demand to continue to grow.

Where to put them once they are grown?
Chaga mushrooms demand are currently growing, so there is no problem with selling it. The price of 1 kg ranges from €50 to €200 depending on the place of cultivation, size and quality. Chaga mushrooms grown in Europe are considered to be of a higher quality, so a wholesale price of EUR 70 can be expected. The most popular way of processing is also to dry and grind the mushrooms and sell them as tea.

So we plant chaga mushrooms with pins

1 – The recommended thickness of the tree for grafting is about 15-25cm. Drill a hole about 40cm from the ground, 8mm width and 35mm deep so that it is slightly deeper than the plugs, and clean it out with a drill. Drill the second hole approximately 50-60cm higher and repeat as far as you can reach. This will require 4-5 plugs per tree.

2 – Insert the chaga plugs into the drilled holes and hammer down with a hammer. The pin should be fully embedded in the tree.

3 – Apply with wax or garden ointment to prevent bacteria and other fungi from infecting the tree. You can mark the tree so that you can easily find it later.

4 – Be patient. It will take 3 years for the fungus to start forming after the dowel has been driven in, by which time the fungus will have spread inside the tree.

Years 1-3
– You will see the first signs of successful infestation. There will be darkening around the holes and bark cracks will appear on some trees.

3-5 years – the fungus on the surface of the tree starts to form a chaga. It does not necessarily form at the place where the pin is stuck, but usually nearby.

5-6 years – more mushroom formations appear, and the existing ones grow larger.

6-8 years – the first crop of Chaga mushrooms is ready for harvesting. You can start looking for buyers before harvesting.

Year 12-14 – Time for the second harvest. Everything is easier now that you are not doing it for the first time.

Year 18-20 – You have harvested your last crop. The trees can be cut and are suitable for firewood and paper production.

You can find plugs here

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is it necessary to grow on living trees?
Yes, chaga mushrooms only grow on live trees
What kind of harvest can I expect? We are planning to harvest 1-2kg per pin, as we will be harvesting 4-5 pins so we can expect 5-10kg per tree. These are approximate figures, the yield could be much higher.
Are the conditions in Europe suitable for growing chaga? Yes, chaga grows in the northern hemisphere, so the conditions in north Europe suitable. If birch trees is growing in your area you can grow Chaga. Also, because of less of air pollution than in other parts of the world, mushrooms grown in Europe are more appreciated.
When is the best time to sow chaga mushrooms? The best time is from April to October.
Is it necessary to apply wax? It is not mandatory, but highly recommended

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