Hunting For The Morel Mushrooms
The morel mushroom season varies across the United States depending on the region. In the Midwest, the season can range from late March to early June, typically lasting 4 weeks in each region. The Morel cycle typically starts with the early grays, blacks & small yellows, then your larger yellow Morels.
How Does The Weather Affect The Growth of Morel Mushrooms
Air & ground temp along with rain affect the growth of the Morel. Spring weather, with day temperatures moderating between 60-70 degrees is ideal. However, too much or too little soil moisture (rain) can greatly affect the growth. You may find areas that you have always found Morels in do not produce in a year under these rain conditions.
Where To Look For Morel Mushrooms
The Morel’s are typically found in moist areas around decaying wood (standing, fallen or even stumps). Focus on dead trees that may have lost their bark, these are much easier to see from a distance. Also look for dead Elm, Ash, Sycamore, and old apple orchards. I have also found them along fence lines, near pine trees.
If the Spring is dry, look in the low areas or at the bottom of hills and up 1/4 of the way. If you have an area that has moguls along the hillside make sure to check them out. These moguls will capture water during a dry Spring, increasing your changes for finding Morels. If the Spring is wet, then move up to the higher areas, the top of hills or 1/4 from the top.
Once you find Morels make sure to hit the same areas year after year. The odds are they will be there for a few years, depending on weather, before they are done.
How To Pick And How to Transport Morel Mushrooms
This is just a recommendation, but Morel pickers try to promote the growth of Morels whenever possible. The first and hardest thing to do is to leave a few when you find them. I like to leave at least 2 in every group I find, even if there are only 2. If I find more than 10 in an area, I will leave 2 for every 10, this allows the spores to spread in that same area.
When picking, I break them off just above the ground. Try not to pull the entire stem out of the ground, as more may sprout a few days later, off the same stem group. No, not that exact stem, but off the roots that stem belongs to.
When carrying your Morels try to use a netted bag, like that for oranges. This type of bag is strong enough to handle the branches and throngs you encounter and also allow for the spores to spread throughout the areas you are covering.
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