Learn which plants thrive in your Hardiness Zone with our new interactive map!

How to Grow Turkey Tail Mushrooms

By Robin Coe ; Updated September 21, 2017

The turkey tail mushroom is a bracket fungus that grows on dead wood and tree stumps. It has been used medicinally in Asia for more than 1,000 years. It is believed to be useful in reducing phlegm, increasing energy, helping with pulmonary problems and healing the liver. The name "turkey tail" derives from the resemblance of overlapping layers of the mushrooms to the tail of a turkey. You can begin receiving the medicinal and culinary benefits of this mushroom by growing the mushroom on an old stump in your yard.

Begin to grow your turkey tail mushrooms in the late winter or early spring. Start before the wild mushrooms begin to pop up around your yard.

Find a tree stump in your yard to inoculate with the turkey tail spawn plugs. Choose a stump from a hardwood tree such as oak or maple. Stumps work well for growing mushrooms because their roots provide water to the wood and reduce the need for watering.

Make sure the area you choose to grow your mushrooms is shaded. Look around the area to make sure other types of fungus aren't already growing there to reduce the possibility of your stump getting contaminated with other species.

Remove any dead leaves or other debris from around the area of your stump. This will also help to reduce the possibility of other fungus inhabiting the area.

Sterilize your 5/16-inch drill bit with rubbing alcohol, and set it in the drill. Drill a hole about 2 inches from the edge of one side of the top of the stump so that it is about 1 1/4 inches deep. Hammer one of the spawn plugs into the hole. Continue to drill a line of holes into the stump and insert spawn plugs by spacing each 4 inches apart.

Begin drilling a new row of holes spaced about 3 inches from the last row. Offset each hole in the row so that it is centered between two holes from the last row. Insert a spawn plug with your hammer into each hole. Continue creating rows of holes until you have covered the top of the stump with spawn plugs.

Melt your cheese wax at approximately 145 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a paintbrush to apply the wax over each hole. This will help to seal the spawn plug into the wood. Give your stump 1 to 2 inches of water a week.


Things You Will Need

  • Stump
  • Turkey tail mushroom spawn plugs
  • Drill with 5/16-inch drill bit
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Hammer
  • Cheese wax
  • Paintbrush


  • You can use a 40-inch-long log that is 3 to 6 inches in diameter if you don't have a stump available in your yard by burying half of the log lengthwise in the soil and inoculating the surface the same way you would the stump.

About the Author


Based in Ann Arbor, Mich., Robin Coe has reported on a variety of subjects for more than 15 years. Coe has worked on environmental health and safety issues in communities across Ohio and Michigan. Coe holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism with a double-major in international politics from Bowling Green State University. She has also received training and experience as a nurse aide.