Two outdoor shiitake (Lentinula edodes) cultivation experiments, established in Missouri USA in 1999 and 2000, produced mushrooms in 2000-2005. We examined shiitake production in response to substrate species, inoculum form, inoculum strain, and inoculation timing, using total mushroom weight per log as the primary response variable with log characteristics as covariates. The significantly greater mushroom weight produced by sugar maple logs compared with white or northern red oak was attributable to the higher proportion of undiscolored wood volume in the maple logs, rather than to bark thickness or log diameter. The "wide temperature range" shiitake strain produced significantly greater yield compared with the "warm" or "cold" weather strains. Both the wide-range and warm-weather strains were stimulated to fruit by significant rain events, while the cold-weather strain was responsive to temperature. Inoculation with sawdust spawn gave significantly greater yield than colonized wooden dowels or pre-packaged "thimble" plug inoculum. The second and third full years following inoculation were the most productive. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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