Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Waiting for the Morels to Arrive

This time of year most mushroom hunters whether driven by cabin fever or morel fever begin looking for signs of morels to come. One of the best gauges this time of year to watch from the conforts of your computer are soil or ground temperatures. There are several places to look some of which are better than others.

The first type of resource provides estimates of soil temperatures. The most common one of these is the soil temperature map by Green Cast. Although it is based on forecasted estimates instead of actual live measurements, it does provide a general sense of when things are or will be warming up in your area. It provides estimates for today's soil temps and 5 days out so you can plan ahead.

Second there are usually more local resources that take actual measurements and will give you a more precise indicator. These are usually operated by state university and can be accessed through agriculture extension websites. The main one that I use for Mid-MO is one out at MU's Bradford Farm Research and Extension Center south of Columbia. On their weather page, they provide three specific measurements for soil temps.
  1. 2 inches deep in bare soil (no ground cover)
  2. 4 inches deep in bare soil (no ground cover)
  3. 6 inches deep with soybean residue (ground cover)
Between the three, you can get a good sense of how things are warming up. There is also a link showing daily soil temperatures for the last 7 days to give you some idea of how temperatures are heading or trending. If you can find a local ag extension office that provides this sort of online reporting, then this is by far the best way to go.

Keep watching them temps, with all this snow and moisture, I think things are setting up quite nicely, much like they did back in 2008 when we had a banner year for morels.


Anonymous said...

About what temperature soil do morels start to appear?

ahistory said...

There is no specific sweet spot that I know of because it varies by species and environment. Generally though you can start finding some early blacks when ground temps near 50, some grays when they hit 55, and larger yellows when they get to 60.

Keep in mind a few things. One grays are young yellows, so obviously yellows are up after 55. Also, these are just very general rules and the only rule that I am 100% certain of when it comes to morels is that just when you try and get them figured out, you come across a rule-breaker.