Where, When & How to Score Morel Mushrooms in the Woods
Mother Nature, Science, & Wive’s Tales to help you find morel mushrooms.
It’s been said that timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance and in this post we help you learn the best time of the year, locations and areas to avoid so you can find more morel mushrooms this season & beyond.
TOP 5 TIPS & TRICKS
Depending on where you live, the time of year that is best for finding morel mushrooms can vary. Latitude has a lot do with when mushroom season starts & stops. Here in Indiana, the season generally starts in mid-April and lasts through May. Spring time!
QUICK, What does an Ash, Elm or Sycamore tree look like?!? If you don’t know, well, you better start learning how to identify them. It’s very common in Indiana to find gray, black and yellow sponge morels near these species of trees. Slippery bark and even trees that are recently dead are tell-tale signs to finding morel mushrooms. Pro-Tip: Learn to identify trees by the bark & tree buds. Remember, it’s early Spring, the leaves aren’t out yet, so take the extra time to study up!
North. South. East. West. Not only are these compass points helpful to finding your way in & out of the woods from a safety perspective, but certain north or south facing slopes can hold more mushrooms.
Soil moisture content is key to the development, growth and size of mushrooms. One of the best methods and key tips to locating mushrooms is to search for moist soils. Areas where you may see large patches of green growth (grasses, native species plants and flowers, may apples, Dutchman’s breeches, etc) have a higher probability of growing mushrooms – especially if these moist areas are near the trees mentioned above.
Slow down. That’s right, the best advice and tip for finding morel mushrooms is to take your time. In it’s purest form, hunting mushrooms hearkens back to the day & age of the hunter / gatherer. More & more, it’s necessary to unplug, disconnect and #optoutside – in learning how to find morels, patience is truly a virtue. When you find your first mushroom of the season, STOP. Don’t rush in, take a moment to look around as where there is one morel, there is likely to be another. If you go in too fast, you’ll risk stepping and crushing the surrounding morels.
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir
When picking sponge mushrooms, remember to pinch the mushroom off at the base, right at ground level. Do not uproot the mushroom! Call it a wive’s tale, science or myth, but it has been said that if you uproot mushrooms that they may not grow back in the same location the following year.
Sponges, Morchella, Yellows, Greys, Blacks & Snakehead Mushrooms
The true holy grail of springtime in the forest, Morels are just as fun to hunt as they are to eat. Highly sought after by cooks, chefs and restaurants around the globe, these gourmet mushrooms are a key ingredient to sauces, pasta dishes and on the side with a steak.
Ecologists and mycologists tend to agree on one thing… no one truly understands how, when, why and where sponge mushrooms grow. Certain species of morels like grays and yellows tend to be found under deciduous trees like elm trees, ash trees or sycamore trees and stump or deadfalls. Some experts believe that burned forests (prescribed burns or wildfires) have some effect on sponge mushroom populations.
At the end of the day, mushroom hunting is about simplicity, getting back to nature and in many cases, camaraderie with family & friends. We hope you are able to get out on some wooded property this season and have great luck in your mushroom hunt.
See you on on the land!