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OMS Truffle Field Trip Report

Daniel B. Wheeler dwheeler at ipns.com
Sat May 18 00:10:25 EST 2002


>From MushRumors, Vol. 43, No. 3, May-June 2002

FIELD TRIP REPORT

Tuberfest II: Absolutely gorgeous weather greeted the diggers for the
second trip of the year out to Paul Bishop's farm. Members found
numerous truffles. The general consensus was that although this trip
was drier and less muddy, the January trip provided more truffles. My
wife (for those of you who doubted her actual existence) and I were
able to scrape up close to a pound of T. gibbosum.
	Now, for those of you who are not familiar with me, I would like to
point out that some of the material in the "Field Trip Report" is
written tongue-in-cheek. My defamation of NATS (North American Tool
Stealers) in the last edition was one such example. There were members
from OMS in attendance as well. Truth to tell, I don't know who took
the potato rakes. I will point out that there were no reports of
missing tools this time around and there were no NATS members there,
so draw your own conclusions.
	On a more serious note, several members expressed concern about our
treatment of the environment. Try not to leave your digging site
looking like a WWI battlefield. Disruption to the soil not only
destroys mycelium and its ability to grow; it also  reduces the soil's
ability to hold moisture. Fill in your holes and cover your area. This
is better for future production.

Comment by Poster: I was present at both the January and February
forages where Oregon Mycological Society members were invited to
attend. The first forage, I had my rake taken as well. But I didn't
blame any members of the OMS.
	The last paragraph bothers me. Since it starts "on a more serious
note" I believe it refers to an actual belief someone has. That belief
has no foundation in science.
	One of the reasons Paul Bishop has invited numerous groups to his
farm over the past 15 years is to establish information on production.
Another reason is to see, first-hand, whether truffle harvesting has
any effect on truffle productivity over time.
	After at least 50 forages the answer is no. While the trees which
support the most truffles are currently stressed due to overcrowding,
and there has been a decrease in truffle productivity as a result,
there is no data to support ttruffle raking has decreased production
on this private property.
	If anything, it is likely that truffle raking actually spreads the
mycelium, thereby distributing mycorrhizal fungi to other nearby
trees. Keep in mind that it has been estimated a single square
centimeter of soil contains over a kilometer in fungal strands. The
soil particles transported from one tree to another via truffle rakes
is, in my opinion (and several other mycologists), just another method
of inoculation.
	While it is true, according to Dr. William Dennison, that mycelial
exposure to direct ultra-violet light kills the exposed mycelium,
buried mycelium is not affected. It may well re-attach itself to
nearby unaffected mycelium. Dr. David Perry, a soil scientist, has
noted that the act of truffle raking is probably beneficial to soil
organisms and thereby beneficial to trees. In nature, soil organisms
and native animals, many of them living underground themselves, create
"fluffy" soil conditions similar to what truffle raking causes.
Indeed, this "fluffy" soil is created as a by-product of truffle
exudates themselves.
	It is a good idea to cover any raking done on public land. But 15
years of collecting done at Paul Bishop's indicate that soil levelling
after truffle raking is more cosmetic than beneficial to mycorrhizal
health.

Daniel B. Wheeler
www.oregonwhitetruffles.com




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