It’s about that time of year again. The snow is finally melting and the temperature is starting to rise. If you’ve never eaten or heard of the morel mushroom, they’re a rare treat that only bloom once a year. Morels grow across most of the United States, but they aren't necessarily easy to find. Morels normally begin appearing around April, depending on conditions such as moisture and soil temperature.
Here are a few helpful hints on where you can find morel mushrooms and how to identify them. When daytime temperatures reach the 60s and nighttime temperatures are in the 50s. More specifically, a soil temperature of 53 degrees is the time to start looking. Variables affecting ground warmth include type of soil (well-drained sandy soils warm up more quickly than clay), the degree that the ground slopes and its aspect (whether the slope faces north or south), the amount of sun or shade, soil moisture and the time of day. Soil temperature at one location can vary as much as eight degrees a day. In the beginning of the season, check southern-facing hills, as they get more sunlight. Later on in the season, northern-facing hills will start to show signs of growth.
The best places to look are under dead and dying trees. Look under dying elm, ash, oak, and apple trees. Don’t forget to look within brambles and thick underbrush. Ravines and creek beds are also great spots to look as they tend to hold a lot of organic matter.
When you spot a morel, look around closely, there’s bound to be more. If you plan on hunting in the future, use a GPS to mark your location, as morels tend to grow in the same spot every year.
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