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Mushroom Compost for Fruit Trees

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HappyEarth starts with ...
Hey guys, was wondering what peoples experience has been with using mushroom compost on fruit trees?

Ive got a few bags of the stuff at the moment, but a little hesitant to use it on the fruit trees as Ive heard it has a pretty high pH. Anyone had any postive/negative experiences with mushie compost?

Rich
www.happyearth.com.au
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HappyEarth1
Wollongong
5th July 2010 5:13pm
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kert says...
It worked well on persimmon but was deleterious to apple . The pH is about 7.4 ,I believe and this the determining factor. Acerola ,therefore, should respond well and blueberries will not ,for example.
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sydney
5th July 2010 5:50pm
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amanda says...
Hi Happy Earth - Mushie compost can/may contain a lot of salt. I am pretty sure it was in Kevin Handreck's "Gardening Down Under" (CSIRO) that I read this. With my salinity issues - it stuck in my head as something to avoid so I don't use it - probably not an issue for u tho'.

U could always put it in your worm farm or compost bin if u are not sure...? That would sort it out...
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amanda19
Geraldton. WA
5th July 2010 8:11pm
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John Mc says...
....or cut a heap of holes in the bags and watch the mushrooms grow through.
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5th July 2010 11:13pm
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Brendan says...
Hi HappyEarth,
Apply the mushroom compost as you would fertilizer, a handfull to the sq metre under the canopy of the trees. Sprinkle it with a small amount of powered sulphur and water in.
Works for me :-)
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
6th July 2010 6:58am
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HappyEarth says...
thanks guys ... cheers! Ive put them around a few fruit trees to see how they go.
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HappyEarth1
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6th July 2010 4:15pm
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speedy says...
Mushroom compost (Agaricus spp.) is usually formulated from straw and animal manure
which are partially composted together with lime and gypsum , then the process is stopped and it's steam pasteurised before spawnning.

I have soil that's naturally above pH 7 but I still use mushroom compost.
I don't feel the need to add sulphur ( there's sulphur in the gypsum)

I find that the Calcium in it helps to loosen the clay in the soil and make it more friable.

It's also very effective at wetting hydrophobic soils (non-wetting sands).
I prefer to use mushroom compost than soil wetter from a bottle.

I use it whenever i can get it, it's a great soil additive.
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Nth Vic.
7th July 2010 12:21am
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Brad says...
Why do you mention the sulfur speedy? Isn't Gypsum ph neutral?

(oh oh there are a couple chemical engineers on this site and we aren't)
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Brad2
Como, Perth
7th July 2010 1:22am
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Chris says...
ph of mushroom compost varies quite wildly depending on the source. It tends to be quite alkaline (well above 7) most of the time.
I'd view it as a soil conditioner rather than a fertiliser. It is spent mushroom compost after all.

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Chris
Sydney
8th July 2010 3:24pm
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Brendan says...
Tested my mushroom compost yesterday, was around 8 to 8 pH. That's the reason I add a very small amount of sulphur :-)
(BTW, I add gypsum as well, because of my clay soil)
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Brendan
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10th July 2010 6:49am
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Rev says...
I havent seen the inner workings of the Aussie mushroom trade - recently

might be better now theyve withdrawn benlate from the market.
benlate is a fungicides that is also and endocrine disruptor. it WAS used to inhibit competitor moulds

now i think they use its metablite Carbendazim. It also has issues.

Also in some mushroom industries they use a lot of salt. salt boost production somehow and also can be used to salt out bad (contaminated) spots on the casing

personally i wouldnt put the stuff anywhere near my veggie gardens.
maybe on my fruit trees
but really its just too expensive - especially considering its a disposal problem for the farm. I think they saw us coming!
The only real reason id buy is to use the still living mycelium as spawn for a mulched garden

im sure itd be cheaper to make your own compost, and safer

chook manure, straw, lawn clippings gypsum
throw in some dolomite for the plants
beef it up with a little Kelp and some trace elements...

yum yum
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Rev
North qld
10th July 2010 7:42am
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Tom says...
Hi HappyEarth, Here's one I can respond to in order to return the favor of your help with the Davidson Plum. We've used mushroom compost for several years on all sorts of fruit, including lemons, pomegranates, persimmons, limes, low chill apples, passionfruit, bananas, grumichama, black surinam cherries, and cattley guava. I think it destroyed our beets and taro, though. We initially used it to help amend very acidic soil under oaks and magnolias, and it turned out to have a pH of about 6.5 on average; that seemed to suit everybody in the garden except the ornamental flowering trees (and the aforementioned beets and taro). It's more expensive here than cow manure and other composts, so we limit how often we add it.
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Tom
Orlando, Florida
10th July 2010 10:08am
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kert says...
There's still the issue of high salinity in mushroom compost.
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sydney
10th July 2010 4:32pm
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Brendan says...
Hi kert,
That's another reason I add lots of Gypsum to mushroom compost, it helps dissipate the salts.
As Tom says, it's cheaper (and better) to use cow manure than mushroom compost.
The only reason I used it, someone gave me heaps.
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
12th July 2010 6:54am
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kert says...
Hmmm, gypsum is useful as clay breaker not sure if it offers much in combating salinity. Mushroom compost typically has a lot of calcium chloride in it already . Adding gypsum would increase salinity as measured by its osmotic pressure.
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sydney
12th July 2010 5:05pm
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Brad says...
I've certainly heard mention of gypsum for salinity. You may find reliable sources in the list at http://www.google.com.au/search?q=gypsum+salinity
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Brad2
Como, Perth
12th July 2010 6:24pm
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kert says...
I read the references and it appears as if gypsum increases the salinity as measured by osmotic pressure but decreases sodicity which is the sodium locked in the soil mainly as a clay constituent. Thus gypsum is helpful but not because it decreases salinity.
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sydney
13th July 2010 8:37am
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Brad says...
that makes sense
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Brad2
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13th July 2010 12:04pm
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Rev says...
calcium sulphate - low solubility
calcium displaces sodium ion
sodium ion pairs sulphate to make soluble sodium sulphate - and leaches away
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Rev
North Qld
14th July 2010 12:46am
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amanda says...
The important part is that you also need to flush with water when using gypsum - takes the sodium down with it....but there is no real 'help' for chloride....flushing helps a bit as does organic matter for buffering.

If someone could invent a remedy for removing chloride they would be rich maybe???

Happy Earth - with your rainfall it's not likely to be an issue for you ;-)
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amanda19
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14th July 2010 3:43pm
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Original Post was last edited: 14th July 2010 3:46pm
kert says...
As far as i know mushroom compost contains no clay;so all the theory of displacing sodium from clay particles and then washing it away does not hold. Mushroom compost already has a large amount of calcium chloride which would do the cation exchange, anyway. I'm afraid when the term salinity is used with mushroom compost it is meant as total solutes not just NaCl. Anyway what would sodium chloride be doing in mushroom compost? It would not be deliberately placed there.
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sydney
16th July 2010 3:55pm
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amanda says...
kert - might be best to ask a professional grower?
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amanda19
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16th July 2010 10:48pm
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Mari says...
Hey what a good site! I stumbled on it looking for answer to whether I could safely put the Calcium chloride into my composting toilet (they say it's septic safe)or compost. I've got lots of it at the moment trying to stop mould in the cupboards. BTW mushroom compost is really cheap around our way. If you go and get it by the trailer load straight from the farm it's about 50c for a bag that you see on side of the road for about $3 in the suburbs of Brisbane.

Can anyone help with the CaCl2 in compost?
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Mari
Pomona, Qld
21st December 2010 9:05am
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AnnaD says...
There is plenty mushroom spent material available for free east of Melbourne. I went and I got it by ut-full. However, I did not like the look of the farm, (just gut feeling), and there is plenty of cut plastic bottle necks in it. I assume it is from the fungicide the mushroom farmers use. Well, I was suspicious about it so instead of using it I dumped it at the side of my garden. It got quite hot. Now 2 months later the compost looks like a worm farm. How could worm thrive if there is plenty muck in it?
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AnnaD
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12th January 2011 4:32pm
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ringelstrumpf says...
I love mushroom compost and I once bought 5 m for our not so big Brisbane garden. I used it on the veggies.
Maybe I shouldn't have because of the Chemicals they use. I think the main advantage is that mushrooms are somehow good for the soil (Stammets, Mycelium running).
Recently, I read something about gypsum, that from most sources (Bunnings etc) the gypsum contains lots of nasties (was it Arsenic??).
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ringelstrumpf1
Blue Mountains
12th January 2011 7:09pm
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says...
Mined gypsum is fine.
However some gypsum is a by product of synthetic phosphate fertiliser, and they are to be avoided as they are high in cadmium.
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12th January 2011 7:42pm
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Original Post was last edited: 12th January 2011 7:43pm
amanda says...
I always thought Speedy's advice (way back when..) was great in these instances - in that he suggested to simply compost anything you are concerned about first.

You can even add some "inorganic" fert's this way...such as manganese, etc (for your particular soil deficiency) and the (hot-aerobic) composting process will turn it into something more available and natural for your plants.

If u concerned about salts etc in mushroom compost - then compost it - the process will sort things out for you.

Of course - Speedy explains it so much better than I can...

Fert's intended for food crops must state the heavy metal concentrations - if not - don't use it. Mined gypsum is so cheap anyway.


(ps Speedy - I hope I have got that sort of right?... I know u can't just compost any old thing...eg: treated pine, toxic sludge etc...
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amanda19
Geraldton Mid West WA
12th January 2011 10:39pm
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Original Post was last edited: 12th January 2011 10:43pm
kert says...
I put two barrow loads of mushroom compost around a Jonnathan apple and it took a downward turn . I suspect that the m.compost's pH is too alkaline for apples.
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sydney
13th January 2011 9:04am
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Brendan says...
Yeah kert, I remember my mushroom compost tested 8 to 8 pH some time back, the powered sulphur helped to bring it back to 6 - 7 pH.
I was taught to apply m. compost @ one handful/sq m. around fruit trees? (like fertilizer).

Now I think the rain has washed it all away anyway :-(
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Brendan
Mackay, Q
14th January 2011 8:29am
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