10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (2022)

Morel mushroom (Morchella) season is upon us! Many mushroom hunters are already hitting the woods, while others of us are chomping at the bit, waiting for the outside temperatures to hit the magic range that compels those tasty morsels to burst from the earth. Initially coveted for their culinary value, morels have become somewhat a staple of the spring season for outdoorsmen, as they offer a unique bonding experience some call an "Easter egg hunt for grown-ups." They've become as nostalgic as they have iconic after drawing new hunters year after year.

However, finding these spongy fungi is far from easy, as many who pursue them will walk all day and never see one, but repeated failure can simply be a product of inexperience. So, how can you, a new morel mushroom hunter, increase your odds of finding morels and save yourself the drag of coming home empty-handed and conserving your energy for productive hunts? For starters, there's a variety of environments in which morels thrive, which means you can easily eliminate less productive ground to save yourself some time. If you concentrate on these locations, you could come back with enough for the whole family.

1. South-Facing Hillsides

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (1)According to the National Library of Medicine, there are 19 species of true morels in North America: black morels, yellow morels, and gray morels. They tend to start popping up in this same order in early spring as the earth starts to rewarm itself after its long winter freeze. Fortunately for us, this is exactly when we all want to get outside.

The sun will warm the southern slopes of hillsides far more quickly than the north side, causing these edible mushrooms to making the southern slopes a hotbed early in morel mushroom season, but only where other conditions are favorable.

Bring a thermometer and check the soil temperature. If the thermometer reads between 45 and 50 degrees, you're likely in for a good day.

2. Ground Disturbed by Human or Natural Activity

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (2)

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Ground that's experienced disturbance from more than just some vehicles driving over it can be a great place to start. A former temporary stream bed from flooding can also trigger morels. I've hiked countless miles without coming across a single mushroom and then stumbled across a two-track trail to find mushrooms completely covering it. All those miles in the thick woods sure felt wasted when I could've cruised down an easily walkable path.

According to a study published by the United States Department of Agriculture, disturbing the soil and/or mushrooms will forcibly activate the spores, speeding up the mushrooms' reproduction.

3. Logging Areas

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (3)

The University of Minnesota Extension cites woodlands or woody edges as the best environment for a successful morel mushroom hunt, as downed trees are a prime indicator of potential mushrooms. The sun's warmth is able to get to the ground unimpeded by a canopy, and there's something about dying trees--and symbiotic relationship they have with the mushrooms--that tends to attract morels.

These areas can be a real wild mushroom hunting bonanza when they've had a couple years to recover and some new growth has started.

4. Burn Sites

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (4)

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Places where forest fires have had their way are on everyone's hit list, especially professional morel hunters. Burn areas are similar to logged locations in that they require a year or two to become prime. There is even a map that charts the forest fires on the continent and is followed very closely by morel hunters: it's the Global Incident Map, and it can tell you what places in your area have suffered (or been blessed) froma burn.

Forest Ecology and Management, a wildlife science journal, published a study in 2016 that monitored the impact of wildfires in the Sierra Nevadas caused by droughts and over-vegetation, which suggested post-fire morel mushrooms thrived in both abundance and sustainability.

Bring extra bags when hunting such spots, unless someone else has gotten there before you.

5. Loamy Soil

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (5)

The kind of soil that morels seem to prefer is rich in organic matter, with a nice mix of sand and clay. Good potting soil, you might say. Soils that are rich in calcium or lime are also conducive to good morel growth.

You could take a soil sample from an area and have it analyzed or test it yourself (soil testing kits are easy to obtain). This will give you an idea if the area you're searching is worth your time, or if it's worth sticking with it from year to year.

Some of My Personal Favorites

6. Old Apple Orchards

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (6)

Christian Horz

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There's an old former hospital orchard near where I live. Although the trees are old they still produce apples (it also includes a couple of pear trees). Part of this old orchard is mown regularly and is nicely kept up. The other half of it is ignored and overgrown. I always make sure to look for morels in the part that has reverted to a wilder state.

Morels also are fond of areas where cider presses once operated.

7. Streams and Creeks

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (7)

Streams and creeks almost guarantee banks with decent moisture and soil content. If I'm trekking through the woods and come across a creek, I will invariably follow it, carefully scanning the earth for yards on either side. I've found a lot of morels in such areas.

Areas adjacent to swamps are also good for hunting morel mushrooms. One of my go-to places has some low areas that are swampy even in the driest weather. I always seem to find at least a few morels on the slightly higher ground directly adjacent to the swamps, and they can be tremendous producers on normal wet years.

8. Dying Trees

Experienced morel hunters declare that once a dying tree has lost its bark it will no longer be conducive to producing morels around it. I've found this to be true most of the time, depending on how much bark is lost. When a tree dies, it releases its sugars back into the earth, and its roots are still a water magnet. This combination attracts morels.

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Of course, some trees are better attractors than others, which brings us to the next item on the list.

9. Elm, Oak, Ash, and Poplar Trees

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (9)

Ash and elm trees are the two trees most commonly associated with morel mushrooms. There is unquestionably a relationship between these trees and morels, and when you come across either of them--or oak, poplar, or black locust trees--spend a little more time and look a little thoroughly. With the onslaught of the emerald ash borer, we will likely be seeing the death of more ash trees, which is bad for the trees but good for morels, at least temporarily.

To be a good morel hunter you've got to become adept at identifying trees. It's a skill that is easy to learn and will do you good in any number of ways. If you're in an area full of oak trees,make a note to return in the early autumn to check for hen of the woods or maitake mushrooms.

10. In the Pines

10 Places to Look for Morel Mushrooms This Year (10)

While deciduous are your first-class ticket to finding mushrooms, I have had pretty good luck around pine trees as well, particularly white pine trees interspersed among oaks and other hardwoods. Stands of mature pines have produced fairly consistently for me, particularly if they line a trail or road, which they often do (see disturbed ground above). One time my father and I were hunting morels in the woods all morning and we didn't find a single one. Upon returning to our cottage, in our pea-gravel driveway I suddenly spied several morels directly under the pines that lined the track. We were flabbergasted and laughed about our fortune.

Yes, morel mushrooms do have their preferences, and there are unquestionably locations that produce better than others. But remember, morels are where you find them. They will occasionally defy expectations and pop up in the most unexpected and unusual places.

Before you do anything, though, train your eyes to spot these elusive delectable gems, as it's easy for a first-timer to walk right over them without realizing it. And finally, before you pick or cook morel mushrooms learn to differentiate between true and false morels, as there are lookalikes that are actually poisonous.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his Facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

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FAQs

Where is the best place to find morels growing? ›

Morels are most commonly found in woodlands or woody edges. Morels grow under or around decaying elms, ash, poplar and apple trees. Other preferred sites include south facing slopes, burned (forest fire) or logged woodlands and disturbed areas.

What are the best places to look for morel mushrooms? ›

Usually, the mushrooms grow on the edges of wooded areas, especially around oak, elm, ash, and aspen trees. Look for dead or dying trees while you're on the hunt too, because morels tend to grow right around the base. Another good place to check for mushrooms is in any area that's been recently disturbed.

What is the best time of day to hunt morels? ›

  • Late March through early May is best time to find morels.
  • Live or decaying/dying ash, elm and apple trees are popular locations.
  • They grow in wet conditions when soil temperatures are 50 degrees.
  • It's best to hunt around sunrise before it gets too hot.
11 Apr 2022

What is the best time to hunt morel mushrooms? ›

Morchella, the true morel, is prized for its taste. Late March through mid-May is the best time to hunt for these delicious morsels. Morel lovers are especially anxious and excited this year, after what some considered to be a disappointing season in 2018.

Where do morels pop up first? ›

Black morels come up first, around the time of the first trout lilies, ramps, and trillium. Three weeks later, you'll begin seeing yellow morels. They arrive alongside the first dandelions and wild strawberry flowers.

What side of the hill do you find morels? ›

Some of the first advice you'll get in hunting morels, is where to find them. Most will point you to south facing hill slopes, as that aspect gets the most exposure to sunlight. True words too, as so far this year I have found all my morel mushrooms on south facing hill sides.

Is now a good time to find morels? ›

Generally, morels start to show up in the Deep South around the end of March, and don't show themselves in the northern half of the country until about mid-May. Usually this is a good time of year to walk around with just long-sleeve shirts finally after a winter of wearing jackets.

How fast do morels grow after rain? ›

Once the soil gets to a nice, warm temperature (around 50-ish degrees) and a good rain happens, you can expect morel mushrooms to start sprouting 10-12 days after the rainfall. Finding morels after rain is a great time to hunt.

Do morels like sun or shade? ›

Morel Mushrooms Plant Profile
Botanical NameMorchella spp.
Sun ExposureShade
Soil TypeWell-draining loam
Soil pHSlightly acidic to neutral (6.8 to 7.0)
Hardiness Zones4–9
4 more rows
25 Jul 2021

Do morels grow in one night? ›

The part that you see and want to harvest, the fruiting head, grows quite quickly. The time a morel mushroom takes from fruiting to maturity is very rapid. As soon as the head pokes up out of the ground, the clock is ticking. They will get to maturity and be ready to be harvested in 10-15 days.

Do morels like wet areas? ›

Not surprisingly, mushrooms prefer average to above average rainfall. Like plants, though, mushrooms don't like too much of a good thing. Unusually wet weather can dampen morel season, but dry weather is almost sure to turn into a show-stopper.

Are coffee grounds good for morels? ›

Once they're in the ground, you feed them with household scraps like lettuce, radish tops, or even coffee grounds,” Malachowski says. “Don't just leave it on top. Bury fresh biodegradable material in the area the same depth as the spawn.”

What state has the most morels? ›

In the U.S., Morel mushrooms are found in abundance from middle Tennessee northward into Michigan and Wisconsin and Vermont and as far west as Oklahoma. By regularly visiting the sightings map you can track the progression from the southern states through the northern states.

Do morels grow in the same place every year? ›

You Go to the Same Old Morel Mushroom Hunting Spots

Usually you'll find morel mushrooms in the same place for a few seasons in a row, but when your spot dries up, you need to go prospecting elsewhere.

Do morels pop up during rain? ›

Hunt for humidity

A good spring rain can bring on the morels. They like the humidity and the warm, moist air. When the sun pops after a fresh rain keep your eyes open they can pop out of nowhere.

Can morels pop overnight? ›

The morel mushroom has a signature spongy head. The edible morel mushroom grows throughout the U.S. Rumors and old wives' tales suggest that the morel mushroom pops up overnight, due to the fast-pace at which these mushrooms emerge and reach mature heights.

Do morels only grow around dead trees? ›

A dead ash tree will not fruit morels.” He also goes on to add, “If an elm is not completely dead it rarely produces morels. Sometimes there can be just one limb alive and the tree will not fruit morels. Take note of these trees while hunting.

What trees do morels live under? ›

Morels live in and around forested areas, and tend to grow around the bases of ash, elm, aspen, poplar, cottonwood, and apple trees. Look for bigger, older trees that have started to decay, because Morchella love to feast on dying root systems and strips of fallen bark.

Do morels grow under oak trees? ›

Morels thrive in and on the edge of forested areas. Keep an eye out for ash, aspen, elm, and oak trees, around which they will grow. Early spring as the ground is warming you can find morels on south-facing slopes in fairly open spaces.

How long do morels stay above ground? ›

With the cooperative weather conditions the morel can survive for up to two (2) weeks before the natural decay process is likely to set in and begin to take place.

Can you find morels around pine trees? ›

You will find both yellow and gray morel mushrooms growing near logs, under decomposing leaves, under dying elm trees, ash trees, popular trees, and pine trees, or in old apple orchards.

How many warm days do morels need? ›

First morel fruiting was most consistently associated with warming average soil temperatures in the twenty days (CV = 12.6) or thirty days (CV = 10.9) prior to first morel observation.

What month is best for mushroom hunting? ›

Spring: The Spring mushroom season begins sometime in late April to early May depending on many factors that include snow melt and temperature. It generally lasts into July. runs through November. The opening of the season is reliant on weather as well.

Do morels glow under blacklight? ›

Did you know that Morel mushrooms and other Fungi fluoresce under filtered longwave 365nm light? The cheap uv lights won't work. But the Convoy C8 really lights them up! Great for mushroom hunters and rock pickers alike!

Do deer eat morels? ›

A couple of examples are the (mule) deer, Elk and grey squirrel. These three animals are only a few of which love eating morel mushrooms, but when morel season comes around these animals along with humans all "race" in order to be the first to get their hands (or mouth) on this nutritious and great tasting mushroom.

Do morels grow by creeks? ›

But generally the best places to find morels are near trees, creek beds and mayflowers, said Paden. They grow most commonly under apple, elm, hickory, pine, poplar, and sycamore trees.

Do morels grow on slopes? ›

Morels thrive in or near wooded areas. Look for oak, ash, or elm trees. You will often find them on south-facing slopes and hills in fairly open areas early in the season, and on north-facing slopes later in the season. They tend to grow in well-drained soil-like sand and river beds and will often be found near water.

Do morels grow on cloudy days? ›

It is at this time the ground temperature reaches the low to mid 50's which is the optimum growing conditions for morels. Some rain to moisten the soil is required but it's a myth that you need the sun to really “pop” them. Some of the most productive seasons have been cloudy, rainy springs.

Is it best to hunt morels after a rain? ›

3. The Hunt. The best time to go out hunting is after a good rain and the temperatures are right around 70 degrees. The soil is warm and moist which leads to perfect growing conditions for the morel.

How cold is too cold for morels? ›

What Will Happen To Morel Mushrooms During a Cold Snap?

Do morels hide under leaves? ›

They can hide under leaves, by trees and under branches. It's best to keep your head down, and your eyes wide open when morel mushroom hunting. While foraging for Morels, keep in mind that where one is, others are usually close by.

Do morels grow on flat land? ›

3. Search flat areas rich with deadfall and moderate undergrowth. Undergrowth and deadfall are a great combination because they both help to keep mushroom producing soil moist. If the deadfall is from one of the morel producing trees and the soil is moist and at temperature, you may be in luck.

What is the biggest morel mushroom ever found? ›

2016. The Iowa DNR said in a Facebook post that this morel is the biggest they've ever seen. It was 15 inches tall, 14 inches in circumference, and 1.5 pounds.

Why do you soak morels in salt water? ›

Morel mushrooms have wrinkly, crinkly caps that can harbor a lot of dirt, as well as little forest critters (by which we mean worms and bugs). Soak morels in salt water for 5 to 10 minutes to kill anything hiding inside. This will also loosen up any dirt.

Should you leave some morels behind? ›

As a general rule of thumb in foraging, it's smart and kind to only take what you'll eat. If foraging on public land, consider leaving a few behind for other foragers. Plus, though morels are pretty good at coming back year after year, this will help ensure they'll be back right here next year.

Do morels only grow near water? ›

Sites with windblown trees and logged-out area are also prime morel hunting spots. They're abundant on sites disturbed by water, such as old floodplains, washes or near rivers. Morels also grow on sites disturbed by development, but the mushrooms growing on those sites may be contaminated with toxins.

What mushroom tastes most like a morel? ›

Oyster Mushrooms Can Offer a Flavor-Mimic to the Morel.

How long can you leave morels in salt water? ›

Step 2: Soak In Cool Salt Water

Toss in your morels and let them soak for 3-5 minutes, agitating the fruits a few times to help loosen up the dirt. This will hopefully kill any bugs, and should get all the dirt off.

How much are morels worth per pound? ›

Morels are a spring mushroom that can usually be found between the months of March and May. Because of this very short growing period, they can be quite expensive when they are in season, costing upward of $20 per pound.

What is the morel mushroom capital of the world? ›

Mushroom Capital of the World – Richmond, Missouri the Mushroom Capital of the World. Boyne City Morel Mushroom Festival (Michigan) – a morel mushroom festival information web site. Celebrating its 50th year in 2010.

Are black morels rare? ›

You'll find particularly dark specimens in and around burn sites. Varieties of Morcella, both black and yellow, are widespread across the U.S., occurring in all states (although morels in general are rare in Florida).

Do morels grow back after you cut them? ›

When you find a morel mushroom, you should pinch or cut the stem at ground level. This leaves the “roots” in the soil and increases the odds that it'll propagate there again next year.

Do morels grow in clay soil? ›

You'll need to avoid clay and rock-heavy soil. It is common to find wild Morels in areas where a forest fire has burned through in the previous season. So, to increase your chances of growing Morels, you'll need to mix wood chips, wood ash, gypsum, sand, and peat moss into your planting area.

How long after a rain should I go mushroom hunting? ›

Mushrooms like rain. Miller's hunting forecast is, “after it rains two inches, wait two weeks.” Mushrooms don't just pop up the day after it rains. They need time to grow and sprout. You'll get the most mushrooms at the right time of year, with the right amount of precipitation.

Do morels grow the second year after a fire? ›

Typically, burn morels fruit with the highest abundance one year after fires. So, this would be the second year after fire, so it's questionable what that sort of abundance will be like for this year.

What is the best state to find morels? ›

In the U.S., Morel mushrooms are found in abundance from middle Tennessee northward into Michigan and Wisconsin and Vermont and as far west as Oklahoma. By regularly visiting the sightings map you can track the progression from the southern states through the northern states.

Do morels like sun or shade? ›

Do Morels like sun or shade? While they do need sunshine, they don't need too much or they'll dry out. They need a good balance between sunlight and shade which is why you'll find them on riverbanks and near the base of trees.

Where do morels grow naturally? ›

In the world of edible mushrooms, the morel mushroom is one of the most coveted and tasty species. In spring, the highly seasonal mushrooms are found in forests all over the Northern Hemisphere among leaf litter around dead elm, Sycamore, apple, and Ash trees.

Do morels grow in the same place every year? ›

If you know a place where morels grow, check it every year as they frequently will grow in the same place for multiple years. The mushroom foraging world kicks into high gear when morel season starts because they are the first big harvest of the year and because the season is so sadly short.

Do morels grow near skunk cabbage? ›

Check near the Mayapples and skunk cabbage. Many successful hunters often find morels near and under these plants. So if you see them, check for the elusive mushrooms. They are also an indicator of when morels should be popping up…

Do you have to move leaves to find morels? ›

Most successful morel foragers recommend walking slowly and looking about 10 feet ahead to spot morels. Many also suggest that most of your time should be spent looking rather than walking and that using a hiking stick to flip over fallen leaves, pieces of bark, and mayapple leaves will greatly increase success rates.

Do morels glow under blacklight? ›

Did you know that Morel mushrooms and other Fungi fluoresce under filtered longwave 365nm light? The cheap uv lights won't work. But the Convoy C8 really lights them up! Great for mushroom hunters and rock pickers alike!

Will morels grow with no rain? ›

Not enough rain is definitely not good for the morel either. Soil temperatures will typically range from 50 to 60 degrees.

Do morels like dry or wet? ›

Not surprisingly, mushrooms prefer average to above average rainfall. Like plants, though, mushrooms don't like too much of a good thing. Unusually wet weather can dampen morel season, but dry weather is almost sure to turn into a show-stopper.

Do morels come up at night? ›

According to morel hunters, Michigan's favorite mushroom emerges from the ground after warm nights and a warm rain. Most information shows “warm” for morel growth is nighttime temperatures in the 50s and daytime temperatures in the 70s. It's not really the air temperatures that grow morels. It's the soil temperature.

Do morels only grow around dead trees? ›

A dead ash tree will not fruit morels.” He also goes on to add, “If an elm is not completely dead it rarely produces morels. Sometimes there can be just one limb alive and the tree will not fruit morels. Take note of these trees while hunting.

What trees do morels live under? ›

Morels live in and around forested areas, and tend to grow around the bases of ash, elm, aspen, poplar, cottonwood, and apple trees. Look for bigger, older trees that have started to decay, because Morchella love to feast on dying root systems and strips of fallen bark.

Do morels grow around dead trees? ›

In truth, morels aren't quite so picky. They'll grow near other dead trees too. But they do require humidity and loose soil. Even in the best places, spotting them can be tricky.

How long after rain do morels come up? ›

Once the soil gets to a nice, warm temperature (around 50-ish degrees) and a good rain happens, you can expect morel mushrooms to start sprouting 10-12 days after the rainfall. Finding morels after rain is a great time to hunt.

Do deer eat morels? ›

A couple of examples are the (mule) deer, Elk and grey squirrel. These three animals are only a few of which love eating morel mushrooms, but when morel season comes around these animals along with humans all "race" in order to be the first to get their hands (or mouth) on this nutritious and great tasting mushroom.

Do morels pop up during rain? ›

Hunt for humidity

A good spring rain can bring on the morels. They like the humidity and the warm, moist air. When the sun pops after a fresh rain keep your eyes open they can pop out of nowhere.

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