With the warmer than normal winter it looks like Morel season will start early again. The warm weeks in February thawed the ground and the one week cold snap last week will not have stopped springs march for long. There are many signs of spring to look for and a number of scientific measurements you can make to try and predict when Morel season will start. On the observation side people mention forest plants like Ramps, Skunk Cabbage and May apples, or trees like Redbud, Forsythia and Magnolia as signs that the time is right for Morels. On the scientific side people look at soil temperature (over 50°F), degree days and the amount of rain. We have certainly surpassed the degree day value of 700 and there will be plenty of warm rain this week which may trigger the start of the season. Unfortunately the Morel Sightings Map that I have recommend in the past seems to be defunct and there is no map for 2017. There is a replacement though at the The Great Morel website. I have also been searching Mushroom Observer for sightings and checking morelmushroomhunting.com for reports but haven’t seen anything in PA yet. However, we have received post to our Facebook page of false morel finds and this week reports of a true morel find.
Do you want to find out more about hunting for morels? There is an early season talk on Morel Mushrooms and How to Find Them at Trinity United Methodist Church, Indiana PA on the 17th April. On the 19th April you can join April’s guest speaker for a Hunt the woods with Britt Bunyard at Bushy Run Battlefield. Our main morel talk and walk is on the 29th of April: Morel Mushrooms: What, Where, When. Presentation and walk at Pine Ridge Lodge. If you can not make a talk or walk please have a look at one of our previous presentations.
Finally as Morel season is difficult to predict there will probably be some pop up walks with just a few days notice. Check out the clubs Facebook page for more information.