Tips for finding Morel Mushrooms

When should I start Looking for Morel Mushrooms?

Morel Mushrooms are seasonal and can be found in the springtime. They can start in February in the deep south and progress northward as temperatures warm, as late as mid June in the midwest. Higher elevations in the PNW, morels can be found well into late august as the snow-pack melts.

What are the best Signs of Morel Mushroom Season?

There are many things to be looking for to help with your timing of the Morel Mushroom Season. My personal best signs are when redbud trees start to bloom. Many other signs are pictured below:

Redbud in full bloom.

When you spot the bright red scarlet cup fungi top, this usually appears 7-10 days before first morels. The black devil’s urns are usually just a couple of days before morels and will continue to grow and mature along with morels. Other signs to look for are dandelions blooming, daffodils, forsythia, when oak leaves are the size of squirrel ears, lilacs blooming, etc.

When the soil temperature reaches into the 50’s at a 2-3″ depth, this triggers the underground morel mycelium to begin growth of tiny baby morels.

Is there any online help to help find Morel Mushrooms?

There are numerous social media groups about Morel Mushroom Hunting. I have personally created over 30 FaceBook groups and pages, view a list HERE.  You can also check my Morel Mushroom Progression Maps that I update weekly HERE.

What trees do Morel Mushrooms grow under?

With the exception of the “Landscape Morels” that grow from mulch, all other woodland species of morels are “mycorrhizal” to specific trees and bushes.  So many morel hunters walk through the woods aimlessly looking down at the ground for them. Eventually you will stumble upon some, but there is a reason they are growing in that particular spot… In the midwest, dying elm trees, ash trees, tulip poplars, old apple orchards, sycamores, and even white pines. In the PNW, morels are connected to fir trees in the forests and along rivers- cottonwoods.

Can Morel Mushrooms make you sick?

Yes! Most wild mushrooms including morels contain mild toxins that may cause stomach upset if eaten RAW! A few minutes in the skillet removes the toxins.

Are there any poisonous look alikes?

There are “false morels” that grow at the same time and may look barely similar to morels to the untrained eye. The biggest difference is the fact that all true morel species are 100% hollow when sliced open. All false morels are either chambered inside or contain a white cotton substance inside the stem. A large percentage of foragers eat false morels despite their much higher toxin levels. Eat them at your own risk, I do not advise to eat them!

Do Morel Mushrooms grow or just pop-up?

Morels do actually grow, and somewhat slowly, up to 21 days to maturity!

What kind of gear do I need to hunt for Morel Mushrooms?

A mushroom knife is recommended to avoid damaging the underground mycelium. Collect them in a mesh bag as this allows their spores to drop through. Using plastic will condensate and spoil your mushrooms.

Are there any dangerous things to know about while hunting Morel Mushrooms?

Yes, use bug spray to avoid ticks and high boots to avoid snakes.

How many species of Morel Mushrooms are there?

100’s around the world. In the US, four common east of the Mississippi, and a few others in the PNW. A future blog will detail each species including locations, and habitats.

How can Morel Mushrooms be preserved?

Never soak them. Keep them in a brown paper bag in the fridge for up to 20 days. You can dry them and also freeze them with my proven method.

What is the best way to cook Morel Mushrooms?

Most people enjoy them simply breaded and fried. I also like them in Alfredo as well as stuffed with cream cheese and crab!

Do Morel Mushrooms grow in every state?

Yes, but extremely rare in Florida. This year in 2020 I have had many reports from Hawaii! 

Final comments:

Take time to enjoy the beauty of the woods including many amazing spring wildflowers. There are many other edible species of spring mushrooms that shouldn’t be overlooked as well as delicious wild edible plants. Enjoy the woods and savor the moment as it just comes once a year for about 3-4 weeks! Consider joining this club and help support my efforts as well as attending one of my guided hunts (forays). I also have a great book on morels HERE. Happy hunting, see you in the woods!

-Chris Matherly


(Please Note- If you registered and paid for a 2020 foray postponed due to the pandemic, you are automatically included in on any 2023 foray and will be emailed the itineraries) 

-Call Chris now to reserve your spots for the below 2023 morel forays! (478)217-5200

Register for 2023 Spring Morel Forays:

Please understand, the pandemic destroyed me and I am slowly trying to get things rolling again and back to normal. If you feel led to support my efforts and help cover costs that I am incurring, that would be awesome and greatly appreciated. 

Zelle:  Cash App: $chrismatherly123   Paypal:  Venmo: @chrismatherly1

2023 Georgia Morel Motherload Foray- March 31st-April 2nd, 2023 

2023 Nashville, TN Morel Foray and Music Fest- April 7th-9th, 2023 

2023 Oklahoma Morel Foray and Music Fest– April 14th-16th, 2023

2023 Missouri Morel Foray– April 21st-23rd, 2023 

2023 Central Illinois Morel Motherload Foray– April 24th-26th, 2023 

2023 Indiana Morel Foray– April 28th-30th, 2023 

2023 Ohio Morel Foray– May 5th-7th, 2023 

2023 Minnesota Morel Foray– May 12th-14th, 2023 

2023 Michigan Morel Foray– May 19th-21st, 2023 

2023 Oregon Morel Foray– May 26th-28th, 2023 

2023 Washington State Burnsite and Naturals Morel and Porcini Foray early June, 2023

Planned 2023 Summer and Fall Forays: (email me if interested-

2023 Gatlinburg Tennessee Summer Foray July, 2023

2023 Telluride Colorado Porcini Foray August, 2023

2023 Upper Peninsula Michigan Chaga and Porcini Foray August, 2023

2023 Fall Vermont Foray September, 2023

2023 Fall Minnesota Foray September, 2023

2023 NW Illinois Fall Foray October, 2023

2023 Ohio Fall Foray October, 2023

2023 Fall Brown County Indiana Foray October, 2023

(NEW) 2023 Baton Rouge, Louisiana Fall Mushroom Foray October, 2023

2023 Fall Knoxville Tennessee Foray November, 2023

2023 Georgia Fall Foray November, 2023 

  • California Fall/Winter Trumpets-Chanterelles-Porcini-Candy Caps Foray December, 2023

  • Oregon Truffle Foray January, 2024

  • California Winter Foray January, 2024

  • Plan Now for some Exciting 2024 Forays:

    • Morels in Greece March 2024
    • Morels in Africa August 2024
    • Porcini/Truffles in Italy September 2024
    • Morels in Chile December 2024
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