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How To Find Morel Mushrooms | 10 Steps

Morel Mushrooms are tricky to find as their growth depends on a myriad of hard-to-predict ecological factors. However, it doesn't need to be overwhelming.. Finding Morel Mushrooms is really just a matter of following a few basic patterns and being persistent. In this post, we'll explain 10 basic steps to finding Morel Mushrooms near you.

How to find morel mushrooms cover

If you want to learn how to find morels near you, check out these 10 steps and study them thoroughly. There is no better tool to finding morels than your own set of knowledge and understanding of the organism. If you want morels now, you can buy them dried right here. With that, let's dive in!

Quick Steps

Step 1: Pick a Suitable Location

The first step to finding morels is incredibly simple. All you have to do is pick an area that Morels natively grow. Typically, these are heavily wooded areas where there are seasons, and where you can find plenty of water and moisture. Morels are 90% water, so avoid deserts and extremely arid areas.

In the USA, all of the northern states can fruit morels, as well as a good deal of southern states. Check out the Morel Mushroom Map to see where prior fruitings have occurred.

Step 2: Pick the Right Time Of Year

Now that you've found a good location with lots of woods and moisture, you must pinpoint the right time to go out and find morels. Morel growth is highly dependent on ground temperatures, which should be a primary concern for foragers.

Typically, Morel Mushrooms come up in the spring about a week after the last frost (approx. 59-76 degree temps). However, each species of Morel fruits at different temperatures, making things a bit more complicated. So, what can you do? We recommend referring to the Morel Map to see what temps were when morels fruited last spring. If a black morel fruited at 62 degrees in 2022, you can use that as a starting point to anticipate this year's fruiting.

Keep an eye on the weather forecasts, or else you will probably come up empty handed. Finally, Morel fruiting can occur over a few weeks or months, so be persistent and explore on all of the days in which temperatures seem primed for fruiting to occur. Don't give up if you fail the first time!

Yellow and black morels in line
Yellow & Black Morels fruit at different temperatures.

Step 3: Search Near Trees With Decaying Matter

So, you've selected your location, done your best to pinpoint optimal temperatures, and now find yourself in the woods. Where do you begin? Like any other living thing, Morel mushrooms hang out near their food source. Morels are mostly saprophytes which means they break down decaying matter as fuel. This decaying matter usually takes the form of "tree litter" such as decaying leaves, branches, fruit peels, fruit flesh, fallen bark, etc. You can start by looking there.

By understanding what the Morel needs to grow, you can target locations that contain their fuel. For example, a dead tree with a good deal of decaying bark and dead leaves near its base may be the perfect place for the Morel mycelium to get its required fuel. Here are the main types of trees to look out for when hunting morels.

⭐️Tip: Elm Trees are the best friend of Morel Mushrooms. If you know a location with dead or dying Elm, Morels have a high chance of fruiting there. Both species have evolved some symbiotic traits over time which makes them likely to occur in proximity of one another. Elm's also drop a lot of "tree litter" in forms of branches, leaves, bark, etc.

Step 4: Search in Areas With High Moisture

When speaking of the Morel Mushroom's fuel, we cannot leave out water. Water makes up 90% of the mushroom, and thus they can only fruit in areas where there is a lot of moisture. This is a critical thing to know when looking for Morels because if you go out on a dry day to a place with no water, your chance of finding morels is slim to none. On the contrary, visit an area with a lot of wet, decaying matter and your chances are increased.

Water is great for Morel growth, but rain can also harm the integrity of an already-fruited mushroom. Long story short, look for areas where the soil seems moist, but not soaking wet or puddled.

Step 5: Adapt Your Strategy As You Go

More often than not, you won't find Morels the second you head out into the woods. You must be persistent to find the treasure. What does being persistent mean though? Doing the same thing over and over until it works? Of course not! If you are searching to no prevail, you should first diagnose the problem. Is it too hot? Too cold? Not enough tree-litter? All of these things have an appropriate response. If you think it may be too cold for morel fruiting, look in areas where direct sun exposure may have heated up the soil. If it is too hot, look for shaded areas where ground temperature may be less. Not finding much tree litter? Start looking at the tops of trees to determine which ones are dead and decaying. Adapt, adapt, adapt!

Step 6: Refer to The Morel Mushroom Map

Figuring out where Morels are can feel like a puzzle. Luckily, people have already solved this puzzle millions of times. On the Morel Mushroom Map, you can zoom into your location to see different things like exact location, temperature, and type of morel discovered! By cross-referencing these things, you'll get a better feel for whether you are on track or not. The Morel Mushroom map will not find morels for you, but it can be a great basis for your strategy.

Morel Mushroom Map Featuring Iowa

Step 7: Search In Places With Past Morels

The beauty of the Mushroom map is that you can see where Morels have been picked, and thus where they dropped spores to reproduce. Season after season, Morels grow in the same exact area where they sporulate, or very closeby. By knowing this, you can return to areas where you know morel spores have previously been spread.

Make sure you use a mesh bag to collect morels if you want the spores to spread for future seasons. If you collect morels in something air-tight, you are blocking the spread of spores and thus future generations of morels.

Step 8: Once you find A Morel, look nearby for more.

At this point in your journey, you are out in the woods during optimal temperatures, you know what to look for, and you know how to adapt when it doesn't work out. Finally, you stumble upon a Morel! Congrats! Thats the end of the story, right? Wrong. Where there is one morel, there is usually others waiting to be found.

The discovery of a single morel can lead to the collection of hundreds more. When you find your first morel, thats really when the game begins. Simply begin looking in nearby areas, applying the same strategies that got you to this one.

Holding Morel Mushroom

Step 9: Go With Multiple People

No one likes to share the fruits of their Morel-hunting labor, but a small percentage of something is always better than 100% of nothing, right? By using multiple sets of eyes, the likelihood of finding morels is drastically increased. If the goal is to find morels any way possible, this strategy is definitely one you should consider adopting.

Step 10: Learn, Improve, Persist

Look, foraging for morel mushrooms is no easy feat. However, it has been done by men, women, kids, and the elderly alike. You 100% have the capability to find them, but you must put in the time. There is no shortcut for experience and getting a sense for the Morel. On, we're constantly sharing tips, news, and various resources to help you in your foraging endeavors. By staying active in our community, you will improve your understanding of the Morel, and increase your chances of finding them in the spring.

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Curious about finding morels in your specific state? Check out the morel map and click a quick-link to a guide on any of the 50 American states.

Affiliate Disclosure: We make commissions on affiliate links in this article. However, we'll only provide links to products that we feel increase the value of the article and help you forage for morel Mushrooms.


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