Holm Oak with French Black Truffle
Truffles don’t just grow on trees you know. They grow on special trees that have been inoculated with the highly prized French truffle spores so you can start you own culinary delicacy. These Holm Oak seedlings are the perfect host for truffles in Australia; tough, evergreen and adaptable to all soil types. They are also resistant to salt-spray, so are ideal used as a specimen, hedge or windbreak in coastal areas.
Truffles are a delicacy, and are the fruiting body of a fungus that lives symbiotically with the roots of an inoculated tree such as an oak or hazelnut tree. The fungus (known as a mycorrhiza) is colonised onto the roots of the host tree. Truffles prefer a well-drained soil enriched with compost and decomposed manure. They require all the usual plant nutrients, but in relatively low amounts (especially phosphate). Soils must have a pH around 8 for truffles to grow. In most gardens, you will need to increase pH by adding lime (test your soil before making any ammendments). Climatically, truffles need warm to hot summers and cold winters. Choose a site with an open, sunny aspect (north or west facing is best). Usually it will take 4 or 5 years for truffles to be produced after planting. Truffles ripen from late June through to August and are formed under the soil. They need to be carefully unearthed, using all your powers of smell to detect their sweet, earthy fragrance before disturbing the soil. IMPORTANT: Never use a fungicide or insecticide with a systematic action on truffles, as it will destroy the mycelium of the fungus.