How to Grow Truffles

Overview

Truffles are most known for being rare and expensive when it comes to ordering them in restaurants or being a dedicated chef. They are small, white, lumpy mushrooms that grow on the roots of trees such as pine, oak and hazelnut. Although it can take a year for truffle spores to mature on a tree's roots, they are well worth the wait. Growing truffles on your own is best done by purchasing a sapling that has been inoculated with truffle spores. It takes some time, but after your first crop you can rely on yearly truffle crops for a long time. Keep in mind that starting costs can be high, but if you plan on using the truffles or selling them regularly, it is worth the trouble of growing the truffles.

Step 1

Pick a planting site that is a south-facing and gets full sun. Make sure the land is level, or if it is sloping make sure it is a slight slope. The planting site also needs to have no trees for at 30 thirty feet around on all sides. If there are trees within 30 feet, this can contaminate the truffle tree roots or direct water away from the tree. Also pull out any plants or weeds within 3 feet.

Step 2

Test your soil through the local country extension service to find the pH. Ideally, truffle trees should have a pH of about 7.5 to 7.9.

Step 3

Till the soil at the planting site 10 inches deep.

Step 4

Layer 3 inches of the compost over the planting area so the truffle tree can thrive. After this, you won't need to fertilize the truffle tree before the first crop.

Step 5

Till the soil a second time after applying the compost, 10 inches deep.

Step 6

Purchase your truffle trees from a reputable and successful truffle farmer as close to your area as possible. Since truffles take investment and time, seek the best products available to you. Have the truffle trees shipped in winter for early spring planting.

Step 7

Dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball and just as deep for your truffle tree saplings. For multiple truffle tree plantings, space out the holes 6 feet apart. Remove each tree from its container carefully. Place the tree in the hole. Backfill the hole and pack dirt around the root ball to get rid of air pockets.

Step 8

Water the truffle tree seedlings generously so the root ball is soaked through. From this point on water the truffle trees regularly so the soil is consistently moist.

Step 9

Remove any weeds that grow around your truffle tree at any time. Also remove any grass. This must always be done by hand with no chemicals.

Step 10

Wait about one year before looking for truffles around the base and roots in late summer. When you see bulges around the roots, this means that the truffles will be ready for harvest in winter--usually from November to March. Pay close attention though, as truffles only stay ripe for about 10 days. Find truffles using a truffle-sniffing pig or dog, available for rent from a local truffle organization.

Things You'll Need

  • Rototiller
  • Aged compost
  • Shovel
  • Truffle trees
  • Water
  • Truffle dog or pig

References

  • Wild About Mushrooms: Truffles
  • North American Truffle Society: Truffle Growth
  • Trees To Grow: Truffle Planting Tree Guide
Keywords: raising truffles, planting truffles, harvesting truffle mushrooms

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.