Morel mushrooms are incredibly delicious and highly desirable. For this reason, many people try to grow them on their own in their own yard. If you are trying to grow morels yourself, it can be discouraging when they don’t start to grow immediately.
It is important to keep in mind that morels grow over a course of several days and they don’t just pop up overnight. It can take as many as 15 days for morels to grow into a mature mushroom.
Morel Growth Patterns
The growth of a morel starts as soon as the head of the mushroom makes its way out of the ground. Morels grow pretty quickly as they can reach full maturity in just 15 days. However, you won’t typically see much of the mushrooms at all until about day 10.
It’s really common to hear people say that morel mushrooms just pop up overnight, but this isn’t the case. It seems like that because morels blend into their growing environment, making then difficult to spot until they are mature.
It is important to keep your eye out for morels because once they reach maturity between the 10- and 15-day mark, they start to deteriorate really quickly. This means there is a very short period that you can successfully harvest them after they are done growing.
How to Identify a Mature Morel Mushroom
While it is safe to assume that a morel is mature when you can see it, it is still best to know what a mature morel looks like. A mature morel will be able six inches tall with a sponge-like cap. The stem is going to be hollow, so if you find one with a solid stem, it’s not actually a real morel.
Mature morels can be a few different colors. You can find them in yellow, yellow-brown, or light brown. They can also be found in gray, very pale yellows, and with dark gray pits. Black morels are all brown when they are young and brown with black ridges when they are mature.
Black morels are said to have the most flavor out of all the other morels and are also known to grow the earliest.
Due to their coloring, morels can be difficult to find because they blend in so well. You will need to study the color of each so you can be able to focus your eye and find exactly what you are looking for.
When Do Morels Grow?
Morels will grow in the spring usually starting in early April and stopping around the middle of May. The exact growing season will depend on the weather conditions of that year, but the time frame is usually the same.
These mushrooms will only grow with proper weather conditions. The daytime temperature needs to be between 60- and 70-degrees Fahrenheit to grow with a soil temperature of between 55- and 59-degrees Fahrenheit.
Morels are also highly likely to grow after a large amount of rainfall. This is because they thrive in moist environments, and soil will be very moist after a large amount of rain. If you have seen morels growing in a specific area before, check that same area frequently after a big rain to see if they are growing again.
Growing Your Own Morels
When you are growing your own morel mushrooms, you need to remind yourself to be patient. While it seems like morels just pop up overnight, they actually take several days of the right conditions to grow.
Plant them in an ideal spot with just the right amount of sunshine. They should only get around three hours of sunshine each day, so make sure they are in a shady area. The best place to grow them is going to be next to a dying tree so they can be shaded and eat nutrients that they need to grow.
After you plant them, it’s just a waiting game. Keep an eye on the moisture level of the soil to make sure it doesn’t get too dry.
The mushrooms will need ideal conditions to grow, so if you don’t see them at the ten-day mark, it might be safe to assume that they aren’t going to grow. If you don’t want to give up too quickly, wait until the fifteenth day before you decide to try a different spot.
If there are no morels in that area by the fifteenth day, they won’t be growing. In
How to Harvest When You See Them
When morels are visible, this likely means that they are mature and ready to be harvested. It is important that you harvest them as quickly as possible to ensure they don’t start to deteriorate.
Harvesting morels is pretty easy. Once you find them, start by cutting the morel at the base instead of pulling it out of the ground. If you pull them out of the ground, you can damage the roots of the morel and prevent them from growing again.
You should use a mesh bag to gather your morels. Mature morels will release spores which are necessary to spread morels. When you use a mesh bag, these spores will have a higher chance of making their way back into the ground to grow more morels.
Will Morels Grow Back in the Same Spot?
Morels are highly likely to grow back in the same spot more than once. In most cases, they will only grow in the same spot for a few seasons. This is mostly due to changes in the environment they are growing in.
Some of the biggest reasons morels won’t grow back in the same spot as the previous season is because there were changes or disturbances in the ground they were growing in, the rainfall has been different, and there are changes in the temperature of the area.
If you don’t see morels growing in the same place you’ve seen them the past few years, try searching in surrounding areas. Spores from the previous morels could have been spread around and started new morels in new places.