© 2018 The Authors. Environmental Microbiology published by Society for Applied Microbiology and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. White-rot fungi, such as Dichomitus squalens, degrade all wood components and inhabit mixed-wood forests containing both soft- and hardwood species. In this study, we evaluated how D. squalens responded to the compositional differences in softwood [guaiacyl (G) lignin and higher mannan content] and hardwood [syringyl/guaiacyl (S/G) lignin and higher xylan content] using semi-natural solid cultures. Spruce (softwood) and birch (hardwood) sticks were degraded by D. squalens as measured by oxidation of the lignins using 2D-NMR. The fungal response as measured by transcriptomics, proteomics and enzyme activities showed a partial tailoring to wood composition. Mannanolytic transcripts and proteins were more abundant in spruce cultures, while a proportionally higher xylanolytic activity was detected in birch cultures. Both wood types induced manganese peroxidases to a much higher level than laccases, but higher transcript and protein levels of the manganese peroxidases were observed on the G-lignin rich spruce. Overall, the molecular responses demonstrated a stronger adaptation to the spruce rather than birch composition, possibly because D. squalens is mainly found degrading softwoods in nature, which supports the ability of the solid wood cultures to reflect the natural environment.