324-The Potential of Mushrooms to Overcome Environmental Challenges

| Care, Podcast

Mushrooms can do some pretty amazing things, and as research continues, we are gaining an even better understanding of the potential of fungi to help us overcome an array of environmental challenges. Mycologist Tradd Cotter joins me on the podcast to share the emerging uses of mushrooms beyond food.

Tradd started out as a mushroom picker and forager before entering a career in Florida as a landscape designer, working as a private consultant and designer for high-profile clients including Venus and Serena Williams and baseball Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt. Still, his fascination with mushrooms persisted, leading him to co-found Mushroom Mountain, which studies the ecological, culinary, agricultural and medicinal uses of mushrooms. 


Mushroom Mountain's Tradd Cotter

Tradd is always on the hunt for mushrooms — especially mushrooms doing unusual things. (photo: Olga Cotter/Mushroom Mountain LLC)


Based in South Carolina, Mushroom Mountain has received hundreds of fungi from people all over North America for propagation and study. Since the first broadcast in 2019, Tradd has moved on from Mushroom Mountain, though he is still in the mushroom industry. 

A few years ago, I caught Tradd’s presentation on mushrooms at the University of North Carolina Botanic Garden in Charlotte and was blown away. It opened my eyes to the possibility that fungi offer. For gardeners, hearing how fungi can be used for pest and disease control in the garden will make you sit up and listen, and there are a number of other fascinating uses as well.

This podcast episode is not an explanation of how to grow mushrooms, but if that’s what you are looking for, you can check out Tradd’s book, Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation: Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation.” 

For a full rundown of what Tradd had to share about fungi for mycoremediation, bioremediation, pest control and custom plant disease treatments, you can review the show notes from the original airing of our conversation.

One update not in the original show notes that I want to share concerns the use of fungi to combat spotted lanternfly infestations. Tradd shared in 2019 the potential to identify spotted lanternflies mummified by fungus, then culturing that fungus to use as a targeted spotted lanternfly control method. This method has not proven successful to date, but the update is that a Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences and Cornell University study shows that fungus does show promise and scientific support for spotted lanternfly control. You can read about the study, conducted in the Philadelphia area, examining two naturally occurring fungi. 


Mummified black carpenter ant

The fungal “antlers” alerted Tradd to the fungus which had mummified this carpenter ant. The same fungus had the ability to eradicate a fire ant colony. (Photo Credit: Olga Cotter/Mushroom Mountain LLC)


If you haven’t already listened to this week’s podcast on the potential of mushrooms, you can scroll to the top of the page and click the Play icon in the green bar under the page title to do so now.

Have you seen evidence of the potential of mushrooms? Let us know in the comments below.

Links & Resources

Some product links in this guide are affiliate links. See full disclosure below.

Episode 070: Decoding Garden Advice: Good, Debatable or Just Plain Wrong, with Jeff Gillman

Episode 116: Understanding the Soil Food Web, with Dr. Elaine Ingham

Episode 118: The Power of Mushrooms: Its Potential to Cure Environmental Threats & More 

Episode 322: Back to the Roots Brings Organic Gardening to the Masses 

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Mushroom Mountain

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Tradd Cotter on Instagram: @traddcotter

Organic Mushroom Farming and Mycoremediation: Simple to Advanced and Experimental Techniques for Indoor and Outdoor Cultivation,” by Tradd Cotter

Sporeprints YouTube Channel 

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Greenhouse Megastore – Our podcast episode sponsor and Brand Partner of – Enter code JG10 for 10% off your order

Disclosure: Some product links in this guide are affiliate links, which means we get a commission if you purchase. However, none of the prices of these resources have been increased to compensate us, and compensation is not an influencing factor on their inclusion here. The selection of all items featured in this post and podcast were based solely on merit and in no way influenced by any affiliate or financial incentive, or contractual relationship. At the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has professional relationships with the following companies who may have products included in this post and podcast: Corona Tools, Milorganite, Soil3, Greenhouse Megastore, Territorial Seed Company, Earth’s Ally, Proven Winners ColorChoice and Dramm. These companies are either Brand Partners of and/or advertise on our website. However, we receive no additional compensation from the sales or promotion of their product through this guide. The inclusion of any products mentioned within this post is entirely independent and exclusive of any relationship.

About Joe Lamp'l

Joe Lamp’l is the creator and “joe” behind joe gardener®. His lifetime passion and devotion to all things horticulture has led him to a long-time career as one of the country’s most recognized and trusted personalities in organic gardening and sustainability. That is most evident in his role as host and creator of Emmy Award-winning Growing a Greener World®, a national green-living lifestyle series on PBS currently broadcasting in its tenth season. When he’s not working in his large, raised bed vegetable garden, he’s likely planting or digging something up, or spending time with his family on their organic farm just north of Atlanta, GA.

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