Morel Mushrooms

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Feb 6, 2007
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Ardmore, Ok.
#61
Don't think it matters. Mushrooms are a fungi, not a perennial plant. They sporelate(sp?) from the roots of infected trees. As best as I can determine from the literature (morels are not well understood, that is why they have not figured out how to grow them commercially), morels reproduce somewhat differently from wind-borne sporelating fungi.

I have seen instances where drastic disturbance, such as a dozer, etc., ruins a site. Not sure if this is because it removed the infected tree, disturbed the organic matter in the soil, or a combination of both. I have also seen many instances where the lack of soil moisture prevents the mushrooms from "germinating" in a given site that has produced for years and years. Remember, that mushrooms are very shallow-rooted and, consequently, you can have good soil moisture an inch or more deep, but the topmost 1/4 to 1/2" of soil can be dry. This is especially true in sandier soils that do not store water very well. My "honey holes" that are located in heavier-textured clay soils, next to spring-fed creeks and draws, tend to be more reliable year-to-year.

I think I have read in the literature, such as it is with morels, that, on average, it only takes 3 days from germination to full-sized morels. If you are a few days early or if it is too dry, you can miss them or they simply may not make in a given year.
 

Deere Poke

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#62
Don't think it matters. Mushrooms are a fungi, not a perennial plant. They sporelate(sp?) from the roots of infected trees. As best as I can determine from the literature (morels are not well understood, that is why they have not figured out how to grow them commercially), morels reproduce somewhat differently from wind-borne sporelating fungi.

I have seen instances where drastic disturbance, such as a dozer, etc., ruins a site. Not sure if this is because it removed the infected tree, disturbed the organic matter in the soil, or a combination of both. I have also seen many instances where the lack of soil moisture prevents the mushrooms from "germinating" in a given site that has produced for years and years. Remember, that mushrooms are very shallow-rooted and, consequently, you can have good soil moisture an inch or more deep, but the topmost 1/4 to 1/2" of soil can be dry. This is especially true in sandier soils that do not store water very well. My "honey holes" that are located in heavier-textured clay soils, next to spring-fed creeks and draws, tend to be more reliable year-to-year.

I think I have read in the literature, such as it is with morels, that, on average, it only takes 3 days from germination to full-sized morels. If you are a few days early or if it is too dry, you can miss them or they simply may not make in a given year.
Just going from experience. Know people who pull them up and their patches get smaller every year. Have also seen it not make much of a difference. Like you said there is not a lot know about how and why they grow, so why take the chance. In Indiana or Michigan people get down right angry if you pull them up instead of pinching them off.

Was born in Indiana moved to OK when I was about 12. Used to go back and visit Grandma during Morel season almost every year. Good hunting up there. They harvest them to sell not just for personal consumption. When the Morels pop it's as big a deal as Deer season in these parts.

Haven't been up there during Morel season since she died 10 or 15 years ago. Didn't realize they grew in OK for the first 10 years I lived here.
 
Feb 6, 2007
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Ardmore, Ok.
#63
Just going from experience. Know people who pull them up and their patches get smaller every year. Have also seen it not make much of a difference. Like you said there is not a lot know about how and why they grow, so why take the chance. In Indiana or Michigan people get down right angry if you pull them up instead of pinching them off.

Was born in Indiana moved to OK when I was about 12. Used to go back and visit Grandma during Morel season almost every year. Good hunting up there. They harvest them to sell not just for personal consumption. When the Morels pop it's as big a deal as Deer season in these parts.

Haven't been up there during Morel season since she died 10 or 15 years ago. Didn't realize they grew in OK for the first 10 years I lived here.
Lots of myth and superstition surrounding the Magnificent Morel!! I guess that's part of the allure, aside from the unparalleled eating qualities. I have friends that will only use porous sacks to gather morels, thinking that the spores will fall through the material and help establish them wherever they go. Others will dump or rinse their cleaned mushroom debris in the backyard or other places where it would be convenient to harvest them. :rolleyes: Not aware of a single success story with such measures, but don't try to convince them otherwise!
It's pretty well over down here in the southern part of the State. Think I'll fry some up tonight. I made a morel mushroom bisque last night. Fantastic! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/morel-mushroom-bisque/
 

Deere Poke

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#64
Lots of myth and superstition surrounding the Magnificent Morel!! I guess that's part of the allure, aside from the unparalleled eating qualities. I have friends that will only use porous sacks to gather morels, thinking that the spores will fall through the material and help establish them wherever they go. Others will dump or rinse their cleaned mushroom debris in the backyard or other places where it would be convenient to harvest them. :rolleyes: Not aware of a single success story with such measures, but don't try to convince them otherwise!
It's pretty well over down here in the southern part of the State. Think I'll fry some up tonight. I made a morel mushroom bisque last night. Fantastic! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/morel-mushroom-bisque/
Looked up info on Morel reproduction and depending on conditions it can actually happen through the root. So there is some truth to it. Bunch of scientific jargon but basically in a bad conditions they can and do spore through their roots. They may do it regularly in some locations who knows. I know I have seen my father in-law take a spot that was making 100 plus a year down to where there are no morels there now. He pulls them up rather than pinches them off. I've never had a spot completely dry up on me like that.
 
Feb 6, 2007
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#65
When they say "root", I believe they are referring to the tree roots or the fundamental cause. Morels are a fungi and, as such, must propogate from a spore - not their own roots.

http://thegreatmorel.com/faq.html#q6
"The source of the spore is often the root cause of the mystery that surrounds the morel itself. The source of the spore can come from many places. Often times from some sort of underground root system; or they may have gotten there via airborne transplantation. Very often it is hard to determine the exact source of the spore. Many shoomers will look around after finding a patch and say "its that elm tree" or something to that nature. Whatever the source of the spore, when it ceases to exist - so do the morels.


The spores from the fungus drop from the "holes" in the cap, other mushrooms have gills under the cap. After these microscopic spores have dropped mycelium begins to grow under the ground in the first inch or two of dirt mainly on wood chip/decomposing wood and it needs high humidity and a good temperature. Most mushroooms need a temp of 79-82 degrees F but with morels it is believed it is 50-75 degrees due to them coming out in early spring. After the mycelium has colonized 100% of the substrate it's growing on/in it will begin to create fruit bodys from the mycelium and the mushroom itself actually grow in about 3-10 days depending on size, conditions, weather, moisture, whole list of variables. The mycelium needs a few things to grow the right temp, right decomposing wood, right moisture content, high humidity, and shade.


There is also the theory among some morel hunters that morels will replenish or re-populate within the same year. You may very well hear some seasoned shroomers swear that "where you find grays, you'll find yellows" within the coming weeks. The Great Morel has not uncovered any scientific data to back this particular theory. However, it might not be uncommon for you to stumble across a section where the morels and the spores may be in different stages in their life cycle. This may cause them to seem as though they are re-appearing or re-populating, when in actuality some of those morels may not have made their grand appearance on the day you happened upon them. If such is the case, then this theory is explainable and may be valid, but other than the circumstances mentioned above, there is no data to support the natural succession of a patch of morels from one week to another, or that a patch will produce one variety followed by another variety.


Along the same lines � many of you have had your favorite morel patches, which have just dried up so-to-speak. Those "sweet spots" that are no longer "sweet" anymore and you think they�ve been "picked into extinction". One has to understand that something in the biological and ecological makeup of that patch has changed. Did the spores that spawned that patch get blown there? Has the root system or the ground composition changed? Did something else change? Have they actually been "picked into extinction"? Based on basic research, it is most likely there has been a biological or ecological change, which has caused your morel patch to no longer be bountiful. Simply put � the source of the spore is no longer capable of propagating the great morel."
 
Feb 6, 2007
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Ardmore, Ok.
#66
Looked up info on Morel reproduction and depending on conditions it can actually happen through the root. So there is some truth to it. Bunch of scientific jargon but basically in a bad conditions they can and do spore through their roots. They may do it regularly in some locations who knows. I know I have seen my father in-law take a spot that was making 100 plus a year down to where there are no morels there now. He pulls them up rather than pinches them off. I've never had a spot completely dry up on me like that.
The More Technical Stuff
"Most mushrooms are Basidiomycetes, all of which reproduce sexually (though some have methods of asexual reproduction as well). Specialized cells called basidia (singular: basidium) produce the spores, which are more specifically called basidiospores, on tiny projections called sterigmata (singular: sterigma). (Some mushrooms—most notably the morels and related "cup mushrooms"—are Ascomycetes; they produce spores differently, within tube-like cells called asci [singular: ascus through a distinctly different sexual reproductive mechanism]."

Reproduction from their own root system would be an asexual reproductive mechanism.
 

Deere Poke

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#67
The More Technical Stuff
"Most mushrooms are Basidiomycetes, all of which reproduce sexually (though some have methods of asexual reproduction as well). Specialized cells called basidia (singular: basidium) produce the spores, which are more specifically called basidiospores, on tiny projections called sterigmata (singular: sterigma). (Some mushrooms—most notably the morels and related "cup mushrooms"—are Ascomycetes; they produce spores differently, within tube-like cells called asci [singular: ascus through a distinctly different sexual reproductive mechanism]."

Reproduction from their own root system would be an asexual reproductive mechanism.
http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2012/long_brad/reproduction.htm

Click the link at the bottom it is a reference link to the department of biology. Has some crazy interesting stuff about Morels growing in the western united states. They have studied them quite at bit at the University of Wisconsin it would appear.

Nice quote from it. Not exactly reproduction from the root but pulling it could be bad.

The sclerotium is a hard mass of mycelium cells which is created to help protect the fungi underground during harsh conditions. When the conditions are right, the sclerotium will produce the fruiting bodies of the fungi in either myceliogenic germinations (towards the root) or carpogenic germinations (above ground) in which to start the process of reproduction once again.
 
Feb 6, 2007
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Ardmore, Ok.
#68
http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/s2012/long_brad/reproduction.htm

Click the link at the bottom it is a reference link to the department of biology. Has some crazy interesting stuff about Morels growing in the western united states. They have studied them quite at bit at the University of Wisconsin it would appear.

Nice quote from it. Not exactly reproduction from the root but pulling it could be bad.

The sclerotium is a hard mass of mycelium cells which is created to help protect the fungi underground during harsh conditions. When the conditions are right, the sclerotium will produce the fruiting bodies of the fungi in either myceliogenic germinations (towards the root) or carpogenic germinations (above ground) in which to start the process of reproduction once again.
Good link! I'm back to my original thinking on the subject; if they understood them very well, they would be growing them commercially. You can purchase "spores" and "infected trees", but most reports I see are very marginal, at best, and skeptical, at worst.

But they sure are fun to hunt and even more fun to eat!
 

Deere Poke

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#69
Good link! I'm back to my original thinking on the subject; if they understood them very well, they would be growing them commercially. You can purchase "spores" and "infected trees", but most reports I see are very marginal, at best, and skeptical, at worst.

But they sure are fun to hunt and even more fun to eat!
Yep and I'll keep cutting them just to be safe.

If you go into the link at the bottom guy has successfully grown them.
 
Feb 6, 2007
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Ardmore, Ok.
#73
It is dry here (Ardmore). Checked 4 spots yesterday; picked 7 but left ~75-100 small ones to grow, all in one spot. Will go back and get them Wednesday. If it doesn't rain here soon, not sure how good of a season it will be for me.
 
Feb 6, 2007
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Ardmore, Ok.
#74
IMG_1527.JPG

159 yesterday evening, just east of Ardmore

Most of our sites are dry, but this one site had adequate soil moisture. If we can get a rain this weekend, I expect we will see a flush of mushrooms.
 

Darth Ryno

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Jul 26, 2004
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#76
View attachment 53548
159 yesterday evening, just east of Ardmore

Most of our sites are dry, but this one site had adequate soil moisture. If we can get a rain this weekend, I expect we will see a flush of mushrooms.
WOW. You know I work in Ardmore and drive from Tish --> Mannsvile --> Dickson --> Ardmore. I'd love to help track more down! :)
 
Feb 6, 2007
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Ardmore, Ok.
#77
Found 9 this evening. Unless we get some rain quick, its going to be a weak season for us. Outside of the one productive spot, everywhere else is just too dry.
 

Deere Poke

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#78
Found 9 this evening. Unless we get some rain quick, its going to be a weak season for us. Outside of the one productive spot, everywhere else is just too dry.
Found about a dozen this week made for a nice plate full. Can't get to my good spot. We have had just enough rain the last couple of weeks to keep the creek just high enough, I can't cross it in boots. No way I'm walking the other side in shorts. Way to many briars. Not to mention that particular creek is a Water Moccasin hell hole. Generally only walk it with snake proof leggings unless it's winter. Have had way to many close calls on it.
 

Deere Poke

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Feb 13, 2014
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#79
Went exploring tonight. Found two in a spot I've never hunted before was getting dark and didn't get a chance to search it good. Hoping I may have found another good spot when I can get there in earlier. Area is huge 20+ acres all the right kind of trees around and lots of dead stuff. Got to walk about an acre of it before it got to dark.