When you love to forage for mushrooms it can be challenging. While hunters will tell you where the best game is, anyone rarely offers you information on the best morel spots. A lot of morel spots go to their grave with whoever came across them, so finding a good patch of morels is up to you.
However, I will give you a helping hand, and won’t keep my morel secrets to myself. The best place to pick morels is probably the same place you picked them last year, but it’s no guarantee. So, let’s look at where you should look for morels!
#1. Burned Areas
Wildfire morels are the worst-kept secret among foragers. Everyone west of the Missouri River knows that burn areas are great for morels. Wildfires in the South are not as frequent as they used to be, but there are still plenty of grass burns.
Burn morels are also easier to spot as well, and they are very predictable. Although flatlanders won’t find the same quantity that those in the West do, they can still find enough to fill up their saute pan in these locations!
#2. Vegetated Island
The same thing that lets morels sprout up like crazy in burn areas applies here, in vegetated sandbars. Undisturbed, rich soil with irregular flooding is just what these mushrooms want. These areas are always filled with fresh nutrition causing spores, long-dormant, to come to life!
These places are not easy to get to, usually requiring a boat to get to them, it leaves behind a lot of your competition. If you manage to find a lush sandbar island that transitions from grass to hardwood this is best. Size does not matter much, as you can reap a bountiful harvest on a small 2-acre sandbar or a 700-acre sandbar.
As the season moves on progress into the island to look for morels in dense vegetation and dark soils.
#3. Fallen Vegetation/Trees
It is no secret that morels love fallen trees. Nothing makes a morel sprout up faster than a dead, tipped-over tree. A bad foraging session is always brightened up by a fallen tree.
Dead bark acts much like mulch, and with a bit of shade from the trunk, morels just start sprouting up. Trees that have fallen in the last 12 months are best, but even those that have been ground-bound for a few winters can push morels out of the ground.
You may like this article: What Trees Do Morels Grow Under?
8 Additional Places To Look For Morels!
While the above 3 places are the best-known places to find morels, there are 8 other best places to find morel mushrooms, you shouldn’t pass up on checking out when you are out foraging!
4. Southsides of hills beneath dead/decaying apple and elm trees.
5. Around Ash, Aspen, Apple, Oak, and Elm trees, usually around the base.
6. East-facing hills.
7. Around old orchid trees.
8. By Tulip Poplar trees.
9. Locations that have seen a forest fire last year.
10. The edges of woodlands.
11. Logged woodlands.
What Is The Best Time Of Day To Hunt Morels?
Morels always grow the best when it is around 40 degrees at night and 60 degrees in the daytime as this means that the ground temperature averages around 50 degrees.
It is usually best to go morel hunting in the morning to noon-time, on the first warm day at follows a spring rain.
This leads to the soil being warm and moist which is the perfect condition for morels to grow in.
What Are The Best Conditions For Morel Mushrooms?
Morels prefer an air temperature that sits around 60 degrees Fahrenheit or more and a soil temperature between 45 degrees and 50 degrees. Moisture level and temperature are by far the most significant factors that play into any fungus’ growth.
Morels won’t grow if the soil is not at the right temperature range if it is too hot or too cold.
Can Morel Mushrooms Pop Up Overnight?
Morel mushroom heads slowly sprout out of the ground and can grow very quickly. It only takes a morel mushroom 10-15 days to reach full maturity and be ready for picking.
Until they are fully mature it is unlikely that you will be able to see their heads since they are so small. This means that they can appear to just pop up overnight, however, this is not the case, they have probably been there for 2 weeks, and they were just too small to see!
Where Do Morels Grow The Most?
Morel mushrooms can be found in just about every state, so long as the environment and weather are hospitable to them. Morels are most common each spring in Michigan, Wisconsin, Vermont, Oklahoma, and Tennessee. Wildfire burn sites also see the most morels each year as well!
Why Are Morels So Hard To Find?
Morel mushroom season can last quite a quite until the ground temperatures get too high and the undergrowth makes it difficult to spot them at the end of the season.
Generally, once air temperatures reach 80 degrees during the day, the season is considered over.
Morels are very picky with their soil temperature and conditions, and they may not grow every year if conditions are not right.
Morels are not only picky about their timing but their growth cycle does not last long, so you may go into one spot looking for morels, only to find none, when in fact, there are morels but they have not reached their full size yet and you did not see them.
They can also be hard to find if you are not looking in the right places, the best place to look is burn areas, and while you may find morels in the same spot each year, they do move, albeit slowly.