While morels do not require trees to grow, they are often found at the base of tree trunks.
Morels prefer aspen, oak, elm, and ash trees, and will favor trees that are growing around the periphery of the forest.
What Are the Best Trees for Morel Hunting?
Expert morel hunters know the best trees for hunting morels, here are the five most popular tree types according to mushroom hunters and the reasons why they most commonly produce good quality morels at the base.
If you can find a dead Elm tree, then you are likely to find morels growing here
Morels grow in clusters around dying Ash trees, but less commonly than around Elms
Apple trees take a long time to die, so morels will grow around them frequently and hang around for a while.
Morels favor Sycamore trees because these trees tend to grow close to riverbeds – another area where morels thrive.
Tulip Poplars are huge and have little undergrowth at the base which leaves them prone to erosion during spring and rainy weather. Morels love to thrive under these conditions
Do Morels Grow Under Pine Trees?
Morels do grow under pine trees but are not the most common places that they are found. That being said, if you are on a morel mushroom hunt it is worth checking out your local Pine forest.
They also like to grow in apple orchards and other fruit-bearing trees that drop fruit which begins to ferment on the ground.
Morels, like other mushroom species, grow best when there is decay, and dropped apples, leaves and branches provide an excellent source of nutrition for morels.
Do Morels Grow in the Same Place Every Year?
Morels will return to the same spot over a number of years but they tend to dry up and move on after a few seasons.
This is more to do with the environment rather than the morels themselves. Depending on the condition of the trees, temperature patterns, weather conditions, and whether or not fields are left fallow or have been burnt all contribute to the migration of morel mushrooms.
What Tree Do Morels Prefer?
Morels tend to favor Elm trees. Elms are large trees that grow up to 100ft, so are not difficult for the mushroom hunter to spot – but they prefer dead Elms to live ones.
If the spring weather is favorable, around 1 in 5 dead Elm trees will attract morels. So long as the area is dry and does not have any stagnant water present, there is a good chance that morels will grow there.
Where Can I Find Wild Morels?
Wild morels are more abundant around the edges of the forest. They do grow by trees and other plants in the center of forests, but the edges tend to have more favorable weather conditions for morel growth.
Morel’s blossom in the spring, so this is the best time to go morel hunting to find morels in full maturity. April is the best month for morel picking. In April there tends to be more rainfall, which morels like.
What Trees Don’t Morels Like?
They are more abundant under some trees than others, but this is due to the position of the tree in the forest and the environmental conditions that the tree provides.
Morels also do not grow under living trees. They are attracted to dying or dead trees that are rotting or are in a state of decay. Decaying trees provide lots of nutrition for morels to live on.
What Is The Best Time Of Day To Hunt Morels?
There is no best time of day to hunt morels, as they do not react to sunlight. Instead, pay attention to the temperature, morels grow best when the weather reaches 60 degrees F and above, and drops no lower than 40 degrees F at night.
The temperature of the soil is also an indication of morel growth. Warm soil stimulates morels and they enjoy soil temperatures around 50 degrees F the most.
Do Morels Come Out After Rain?
Morels do like the rain and will generally begin to appear after heavy rainfall.
After 2 days, morels will appear as tiny baby mushrooms and will take another 2 days to reach maturity. Therefore it is best to wait a few days after a heavy rain event to go on a morel hunt. This is when you will find morels at their ripest.
Can I Grow Morels In My Yard?
Since morels do not necessarily need trees to grow, you can grow them in your yard, even if you do not have any trees.
Morels do not have roots and do not produce seeds, so planting a morel is not so straightforward, you would need to purchase a mushroom growing kit that contains morel fungal networks to stimulate growth.
You will also need to replicate the conditions that morels like. If you prepare a patch of soil that has plenty of wood decay in it and plant your morels at a time of year that promises adequate rainfall (or you can use a watering can) and the right temperatures (40F to 60F throughout the day and night) then you can potentially grow morels in your yard.
However, morels are an exclusive mushroom. If the conditions are not quite right then growth can be stunted or not occur at all. It may take a few attempts before you successfully grow a morel to full maturity.
Do Morels Grow In Open Spaces?
Yes, it is quite common for morels to grow in open spaces as well as in closed forests. Morels grow in open spaces quite early in the season and can be spotted on hillsides and south-facing slopes.
They can also be seen growing in riverbeds and well-drained areas. They also grow around lone oaks and elms that are not part of a larger forest.