How To Grow Truffles: Guide For Growing Truffle Trees, Start Truffle Farm

Georgette Kilgore headshot, wearing 8 Billion Trees shirt with forest in the background.Written by Georgette Kilgore

Gardening | April 4, 2024

Man holding black truffles wonders how to grow truffles and wishes for a truffle farm guide that explains types of truffles and where do truffles grow, and can you grow truffles at home with truffle trees?

You may want to know how to grow truffles because you’ve seen or heard of their high returns.5 Truffles are some of the most expensive foods in the world often enjoyed in top-rated restaurants where they are shaved sparingly over exquisite dishes.

Unfortunately, growing truffles is not something a home gardener can do either outdoors or indoors.

The cultivation of truffles is risky, lengthy, highly involved, and extremely complex. One thing you should know is that truffles are the epitome of hit-and-miss plants.

Full-scale truffle farmers have spent time and effort to modify soil to meet specific criteria for growing truffles after which, they’ve had to wait for years before they harvest their first truffles.

Even so, it’s still worth knowing how to grow truffles because it’ll make you appreciate the finicky process.

This is a guide for truffle growing and shows you how to start a truffle farm if you’re ready to take up that challenge.

Step By Step Guide on How To Grow Truffles

The following is a step-by-step guide on how to grow truffles.

Keep in mind that truffles are very unpredictable and the following steps do not guarantee that truffles will grow, rather, they provide the necessary conditions that truffles need to grow.

Step 1: Choose the Right Location

If you want a nice truffle harvest, you’ll need a lot of land to be able to plant a large number of host trees. Keep in mind that you’re basically planting an orchard.

The only difference is that the fruits grow underground. Additionally, you’ll have to consider security.

Truffles are worth a lot so don’t be surprised when you find people going through your garden digging them up. Additionally, the place you pick must meet the soil conditions and weather conditions for truffle growth otherwise you’ll be doing a useless job.

Step 2: Prepare Your Soil

The soil pH for truffles is between 7.5 and 8.3. You’ll have to test your soil and regulate the pH.8

You may also need to add calcium to your soil. The process of soil testing and regulations may take months, so you’ll have to wait before planting the inoculated seedlings.

You may need to add lime to the soil over a matter of years to maintain the pH. This pH is very important and has to be maintained throughout the life of the farm, not the life of the tree.

For example, oak trees live for hundreds of years while truffle farms last 30 years.

Step 3: Plan Your Irrigation System

The next step is to plan your irrigation system. You’ll have to maintain an even precipitation throughout the year for several years.

Graphics with text that shows how to grow truffles and potentially make a truffle farm.

Watering will be part of your daily life because truffles require a lot of water. You should meet the water conditions of a regular orchard.

One tree needs about an inch of water a week so if you have 100 trees you’ll need one inch of water per tree per week. Therefore you’ll need to establish an efficient and effective irrigation system.

Step 4: Plant and Care for the Trees

After the irrigation system is established, you’ll need to plant and care for the trees. The planting part is really extensive because you’ll need to plant more than 100 trees.

The trees should be spaced out correctly and watered properly. You can apply lime to the soil for maintenance, trim the trees (very important especially oak tree trimming and pine tree trimming), weed between them, mulch, and fertilize.

The biggest risk in the truffle growing process is the weeds and grass around your trees. They usually take nutrients around the trees destroying the conditions for truffle growing.

You should mow between the trees in the earliest stages of growth.

Step 5: Train a Dog

The easiest way to harvest truffles is to train a truffle dog.

Dogs can be trained to sniff out truffles the same way they are trained to sniff out drugs.

A hand that shows teaching of a dog to find where do truffles grow.

(Image: Andrea Cairone12)

This will save you a lot of time and effort and you won’t have to dig in areas where there are no truffles.

Step 6: Look for Signs

Once the truffles are ready to harvest, you need to look for signs. The first thing you’ll notice is ‘burnt areas’ around the trees in the third year or so of planting.

In this area, weeds and grass will not grow because truffles release a natural herbicide that kills weeds. So if you see puffballs or moss growing around the tree, then it’s a great sign that truffles are growing underneath.

Step 7: Harvest

You’ll start harvesting your truffles around the year 5-8. When growing your truffles, you’ll need to be in a region with 4 solid seasons because truffles need the change in temperature to prosper.

When harvesting, the truffle dog will sniff out the pungent aroma and put their paw on the ground where the truffle is located. Then you’ll carefully dig out the soil, remove the truffle, return the soil, and proceed to the next hunt.

How To Grow Truffles: How Do Truffles Grow?

How do truffles grow? Well first and foremost, you should know that truffles grow underground. Second, they usually grow next to the roots of some trees in a mutually beneficial relationship with their hosts.

These two characteristics set them apart from mushrooms.6 The fungi develop a mycelium (dense network of fungal threads) in the soil next to the roots of the trees.

The tree provides the fungus with sugar and starches produced during photosynthesis, and the mycelium seeks out nutrients and water for the tree. All conditions must be met and compatible mycelium types must be present for the mycelium to mate and create fruiting bodies (truffles).

Each species of truffles has its requirement for host trees. For instance, black truffles need oaks like Holly oak, English oak, French oak, and European filbert.

Similarly, each truffle species has its season where fruiting bodies form. That is why there are winter, summer, and autumn truffles.

What Are Truffles? Are Truffles Mushrooms?

The first question you need to answer is, what are truffles? These are a type of fungi that grow 4 to 13 inches under the surface of the soil on the roots of specific host trees.

Truffles have a symbiotic relationship with their host trees known as mycorrhizal symbiosis.1 There are numerous types of truffle species that you can grow.

However, the two most common species used as food belong to the Tuber genus and are commonly known as white truffles and black truffles. Are truffles mushrooms?

The short answer is no. They are not from the same species and unlike mushrooms, they grow below ground.

Additionally, truffles do not look like mushrooms at all. First, they don’t have caps and gills.

Second, they are round and irregularly shaped with firm textures and thick wrinkled rough skins. They almost resemble a small potato.

When truffles are ripe, they have a strong, earthy mushroom scent. It’s difficult for humans to detect this scent.

It takes a specially trained truffle pig or dog to find the underground location of a truffle.

What Do You Need To Grow Truffles?

For the longest time, truffles grew wildly in certain regions and were not farmed. Rather, they were foraged by truffle hunters.

In the past decades, however, truffle farming has become rampant in and outside traditional truffle regions. Nurseries specialized in inoculating host trees with truffle spores, supplying farmers with all they need for large-scale truffle growing.7

Today you can find truffle orchards in Australia, North America, Europe, and Spain. For truffles to grow, many different things need to come together.

First and foremost, the most important thing is proper topography and site selections. Truffles can only survive in a very narrow climate pattern.

They need mild and frost-free winters as well as warm, not hot summers. Additionally, truffles require soils that are extremely friable containing particles in a wide range of sizes.

Close up image of a newly harvested truffle.


The most suitable soil is loamy soil with an even balance of clay, silt, and sand. They cannot thrive in too much clay.

Truffle farms have to undergo extensive soil amendments and soil testing by laboratories to make sure the soil has the proper pH and is light, months before inoculated trees are planted. Truffles have a different water requirement than garden crops.

In some cases, the natural precipitation patterns in many locations in North America do not favor truffle farming. There should be even precipitation throughout the year for truffles to grow.

You’ll also need regular but not excessive precipitation in the summer months. Additionally, the winters must be dry because too much moisture creates mold.

To maintain moisture levels in the soil, truffle farmers usually install monitoring devices on the farms. Though it sounds easy enough to purchase an inoculated host tree and plant it, you need to keep in mind that you’ll have to undergo years of a lot of care and maintenance afterward.

You’ll need to prune, weed, and water the inoculated trees as well as protect them against diseases and pests. You’ll also need to shield them against critters and other enemies for several years to come.

Even if wild animals do not outright devour the trees, something as simple as a deer grazing at the base of the inoculated tree can compact the soil around the roots in a way that endangers the whole truffle cultivation. It usually takes five to ten years, or sometimes longer for the first truffles to come out.

What’s more, the start is usually very slow. You may get one or two truffles per tree at the start but the production will increase as the years go by.

Even so, experts say that truffle growing is extremely unpredictable and therefore, it’s difficult to make detailed production forecasts.

Can You Grow Truffles at Home?

Professional truffle farmers and other experts alike have concluded that truffle cultivation is not suited for home garden environments.3 There are several factors dissuading the home garden approach including:

  • Soil manipulation to improve available calcium and adjust pH
  • The space for trees that require room for growth and expansion year after year
  • Enough inoculated seedlings to increase success chances

Truffles usually grow on new lateral tree roots and it takes several years for the soil, trees and the introduced fungus to create a necessary relationship that facilitates fruition.

The minimum space requirement for truffle growth is half an acre.

Where Do Truffles Grow?

Truffle growing has variable requirements among species. However, the general requirements include:

  • General elevations of 100 to 1000 meters (about 300 to 3,600 trees.)
  • Climate zones such as Continental, Oceanic, and Mediterranean.
  • Soils that have a pH of 7.5 to 8.3, and are calcareous, stony, well-drained, and deep.

When growing truffles in other parts of the world, farmers will have to modify the growing conditions by applying scientific measures to create natural truffle grounds and ecology for truffles. The table below indicates the right conditions for growing truffles.

The site
  • There are several considerations for site location including:
  • Climate and location
  • Soil pH, chemistry, texture and structure
  • Topography, aspect, and existing vegetation
  • You’ll need a site analysis from a qualified person before investing in a truffle farming project.
Truffle Soils
  • Loose, soft friable soils with a wide variety of particle sizes.
  • The best soils are loamy with an equal percentage of clay, silt, and sand.
  • Soils with clay content higher than 35% are not great for growing truffles.
  • Need pH range of 7.5 to 8.3
Truffle soil analysis
  • Site analysis should be done months before planting to give room for soil corrections. Samples should be sent to the laboratory regularly to check whether the soil is still conducive to truffle growth.
  • Truffles require warm summers and cold winters with just a bit of frost.4
  • Natural rainfall should be about 700mm/28 inches annually.
  • Even rainfall distribution throughout the year
  • No hot summers or wet winters
  • Truffles are 30-year crops so growing conditions should be maintained within this year’s range.
Farm design
  • Farm designs determine how to grow truffles, You’ll need to consider:
  • Irrigation system layout
  • Water security
  • Number of trees
  • Host tree species
  • Topography, contours, and aspects
  • Specific planting patterns in terms of climate
Soil preparation
  • This process may be expensive based on pH, soil type, and compaction issues.
  • Treatments may include combining and spreading soil additives, and ripping to open up soils that are compacted.
  • Improved soil should be left for at least half a year before planting trees.
Farm fencing
  • You’ll need to fence to keep out unwanted animals. Even innocent animals grazing will re-compact soils, and damage the trees.

How To Grow Truffles: Truffle Trees

You cannot know how to grow truffles without familiarizing yourself with trees for growing truffles. You’ll select the trees based on advice received and the local environment.

The best host trees for truffles include:

It’s crucial to source inoculated host trees of the highest quality created by specialist nurseries. Poorly inoculated trees will create poor harvest and all your investments will go down the drain.

Sufficient inoculation will ensure the success of a truffle farm. Experts recommend planting the trees in autumn as it is suitable for most environments.

In areas with harsh winters, you can plant them in the spring and use insulated tree guards during the first two years. These tree guards will protect the trees from small grazing animals, excessive heat, wind, and herbicides.

The Different Types of Truffles

Before venturing into a truffle farm, you need to know the different types of truffles. You may find the truffle terminology a bit confusing because sometimes the truffles are called ‘winter truffles’ and ‘summer truffles.’

Nonetheless, here’s an overview of some of the most popular truffle species.

Black Truffle

Their scientific name is tuber melanosporum.9 They are also called Perigord truffles, or French black truffles.

They have dark and rough skins with dark interiors full of creamy white veins. They have an earthy flavor and an intense, pungent, aroma when ripe.

Photo of two black truffles in a plastic cup.

(Image: John Loo13)

They are native to southern Europe and usually grow in locations that are warm and exposed, with calcareous, stony, well-drained soil. They are commonly found in areas with a pH of between 7.5 and 8.3.

Photo of three white truffles ready to be sold.

(Image: Ines Hegedus-Garcia14)

White Truffle

Their scientific name is Tuber magnatum. They are also known as Alba white truffles and are rarer and more prized than black truffles.

They are usually found in Piedmont forests and other Italian areas where they grow wild and deep.2 They thrive in soil that is clay or marble (clay and limestone sedimentary).

White truffles are firm and knobby with a pungent earthy aroma. Their flavor has notes of garlic.

They are usually larger than black truffles and usually weigh up to one pound or more. Their colors usually vary and can be pale golden, beige, or off-white.

Farmers and experts near white truffle areas usually forage from September to December.

Black Summer Truffle

Their scientific name is Tuber aestivum. These truffles have a wide native range which includes Southern Sweden, Northern Africa, Portugal, and the Caucasus in Eastern Europe.

Farmers harvest summer truffles between June and September.

Photo of a large truffle almost as big as a palm of a hand.

(Image: Joy15)

Summer truffles grow under the same trees as black truffles but they’re much more common.

Summer truffles have varying tastes depending on when they are harvested. Summer truffles that are light-colored and younger have a mild flavor and are usually harvested at the beginning of summer.

On the other hand, truffles that are harvested late in the summer are chestnut-colored and have a stronger flavor of mushroom and hazelnut.

Photo of several Oregon White Truffle.

(Image: Francis Storr16)

Oregon White Truffle

Their scientific name is Tuber oregonense. This truffle is native to the Western United States.

It grows in fall and winter, in a symbiotic relationship with Douglas first.

When they are young, these truffles are whitish-yellow and when they mature, they turn brownish-tan with white marbling.

They are smaller compared to other truffle species, usually pea-sized growing up to 2 inches in size. Their flavor is a combination of cheese, spices, and garlic.

Pecan Truffle

Their scientific name is Tuber Iyonii.10 This truffle is Native to North America.

The name is derived from its most common host tree, pecans. You’ll mostly find this truffle species in pecan orchards in the American South.

They are knobby or lobed, and round. Their sizes range from each to a golf ball size.

Photo of a Pecan truffle that is halved showing the inside of a Pecan truffle.

(Image: Alan Rockefeller17)

The interior is filled with brown and white marbling. They have a slightly nutty flavor and their harvest season is between July and August.

However, if the moisture is sufficient, a crucial component in Pecan truffle growing, they can last till fall. To summarize, truffle cultivation is reasonably complex, and for successful production, you’ll need to understand maintenance and management, farm establishment, and truffle biology.

For a new industry entrant, learning how to grow truffles through a comprehensive course must be the first and most important investment.

Frequently Asked Questions About How To Grow Truffles

Are Mushroom Trees Great For Growing Truffles?

Yes, some mushroom trees such as beech trees and poplar trees are great for growing truffles.

What Is the Minimum Size for a Truffle Farm?

Experts recommend at least half an acre to start a truffle farm.

How To Grow Truffles Indoors?

Unfortunately, truffles are not indoor plants therefore they cannot be grown indoors.

Is There a Difference on How To Grow Black Truffles and How To Grow White Truffles?

Yes, each truffle species has its own growing conditions, including regions and host trees.

How To Grow Magic Truffles?

There’s a lot that goes into growing magic truffles including ideal temperature, humidity, and light exposure. You’ll have to get an ideal substrate such as brown rice or rye grain medium, then do some inoculation and plant the inoculated plants.

Read More About How To Grow Truffles


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11Fresh Truffles Photo by CHUTTERSNAP. Public Domain. Resized and Changed Format. Unsplash. Retrieved January 3, 2024 from <>

12Dog Hunting for Truffles Photo by Andrea Cairone. Public Domain. Resized and Changed Format. Unsplash. Retrieved January 3, 2024 from <>

13Black Truffle  Photo by John Loo. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved January 3, 2024 from <>

14White Truffles Photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved January 3, 2024 from <>

15Black Summer Truffle Photo by Joy. CC BY 2.0 DEED | Attribution 2.0 Generic. Resized and Changed Format. Flickr. Retrieved January 3, 2024 from <>

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17Pecan Truffle (Tuber lyonii) Photo by Alan Rockefeller (alan_rockefeller) / CC BY 4.0 DEED | Attribution 4.0 International. Cropped, Resized, Changed Format. iNaturalist. Retrieved April 4, 2024, from <>