Managing our Forests
Turkey Tail Mushrooms and Growth of Tanoak Research Project
Conservation Works is evaluating an alternative method for brush control in our forests using native turkey tail mushrooms. Controlling forest re-sprouting of brushy tanoaks after logging is frequently a standard practice as part of reforestation to comply with the California Forest Practice Rules and reduce the fire hazard of heavy brushlands. The traditional approach has generally been some combination of herbicidal treatments to control hardwood species, but concerns have been raised about leaving dead brushy species which could serve as more flammable understory vegetation; changing management practices are considering alternatives to this traditional approach.
This project, Tanoak Growth Treated With Native Turkey Tail Mushrooms, will evaluate any sprouting inhibition effect from these native saprophytic fungi (Trametes versicolor) on treated tanoak stumps. Additional observations include the enhancement of stump degradation by the mushroom as it develops and grows on the tanoak tree. In addition, ConservationWorks will learn whether inoculated tanoaks can serve as a growth media for Turkey Tail which may have some economic value as a medicinal mushroom in our local forests. For additional information on the Turkey Tail mushroom, click here.
ConservationWorks received a grant in 2019 from the Community Foundation of Mendocino County from their special Field of Interest grant program for the Charles F. Flinn and Walker B. Tilley Fund for Sustainable Forestry. Additional funding for this 2-year project has been received from the George & Ruth Bradford Foundation. Additional support has been secured to carry this project through two additional years (through 2023), and Conservation Works is continuing to work with community members to investigate this innovative brush control project.
How Mendocino Landowners Can Help
Landowners can be part of the Turkey Tail Project by serving as a land partner to inoculate tan oak or other hardwood stumps on a property site with turkey tail mushrooms. Although turkey tails are common in our area, they are not always in the direct vicinity of a cut tanoak site. By introducing turkey tail, we hope to increase the rate of decomposition on hardwood stumps as well as reduce the number of site visits necessary to remove new sprouts originating from brush and hardwood stumps. Join this exciting community science project this year in Mendocino County! We will help you get started and guide you along the way as you take part in this important research with us. Participants can also join our Turkey Tail Facebook group and share your experiences with fellow community scientists taking part in the project,