Morel Mushroom

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Morel Mushroom, Edible Mushrooms, Pacific Northwest
Morel Mushroom, Photo By Bud Logan

The best time to begin looking for the Morel Mushroom is when daytime highs in your area reached 12 degrees for several days in a row, with nightly lows no colder than 4 degrees. Rain is important, too. Mushrooms like it warm and moist. Morels grow where the soil is moist yet well-drained.

If you have a dry spring, the crop will be sparse. If you have ample rain but not an unusually wet spring, the crop will be plentiful. Frosts and freezes, droughts and heatwaves all can have adverse effects. And remember, those effects are felt years down the road. It takes morels five years to grow.

On Vancouver Island, morel season usually starts in May and can extend to July, as the snows recede slowly in different areas.

Morels, mushrooms of Morchella species, are mostly found on old forest fire areas, they can grow on burn sites for up to three years after forest fires. The numbers of morels produced over this three year period decrease as regenerating vegetation begin to compete for nutrients and space.

Not all morels, however, are associated with forest fires. Many other species of morels appear after disturbances such as blowdowns, disease, and timber harvesting. Morels are commercially harvested as well as gathered for the home.

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