Welp Spring has sprung and that can only mean one thing….well two things if you count turkey season, but we’ll save that for another blog. It’s mushroom season!
Now many of you partake in this every year and are probably now on the ‘expert’ level, but for those of you who may be new to the game, I’ll share my top tips to find more morels this season. And trust me, you want to find as many as possible, because once you’ve tasted one, you’ll be hooked!
- What’s The Temp? Mushrooms are somewhat picky on when they make their arrival but there are some basic guidelines to help narrow it down. The daytime temperatures should be above 60, but what’s even more important is the nighttime temps. When those begin to stay above 45-50 degrees this is when the soil temperature becomes just right and the shrooms start to pop! My old English teacher and basketball coach in high school, Colby Morris, used to tell us “check the soil temp and wait for it to be perfect, or you’re wasting your time”. I thought he was crazy…. turns out he was right!
- What Slope Are You On? This one is fairly simple and goes hand in hand with the soil temp. Always start your season in the flat bottom ground where the sun shines all day. Move to the South facing slopes in the hills after that. Finish your season on the North facing slopes that receive the least amount of sun and the soil stays colder longer.
- Eyes Up Not Down! You’re thinking how do I find mushrooms if I don’t look at the ground? Well you should also look at the ground… but you can save yourself ALOT of steps if you keep your eyes on the trees. Tree identification and knowledge is probably one of the best skills to have while in the woods. I wish I was better at this one, but I have had the majority of my luck around dead/dying red elms. There is a sweet spot when the bark is just beginning to peel back but the tree is not rotted, that is where I find the majority of mushrooms! There are plenty of other tree options and I know many people find success around dead oak and ash trees. In fact the single most mess of mushrooms I found was around a dead cottonwood tree.
- Soil Disruption- I have no experience with this one, but I have heard a lot of seasoned hunters talk about it. Anywhere the soil has been disrupted can lead to some great mushroom hunting. Large equipment, logging, burn sites, bulldozer work etc. Anywhere you know that recently had anything of the sort done, should be worth a look.
- Tick Repellent- This one might seem like a no brainer, but somebody trying mushroom hunting for their first time would be mad at me if I left it off the list. Long story short- ticks can ruin a good day of mushroom hunting real fast. I have tried everything under the sun from deep woods “off” spray to homemade concoctions that ended up failing! I have finally settled on “Permethrin Insect Spray”. You spray it on your clothes, let it dry, and then you’re good to go for 30 days or 5 washes, whichever comes first. Kills the ticks on contact and they never get a chance to attach to your skin. Also they don’t pay me to advertise their product… it just works!
- Warm Spring Rain- You know the ones I’m talking about. Just like anything growing, morels are a fungus and they require some moisture to grow. I have went hunting and found nothing only to go back the next day after a rain and find them. If the soil temperature is just right and you add rain to the equation, get off the couch and go find ’em!
Hopefully these tips will help you in your quest to find more mushrooms. If nothing else its a great way to get some exercise in. Best of luck!