Morel mushrooms grow all over Tennessee. Necessary for a balanced ecosystem, morel mushrooms are abundant in forests and areas with heavy vegetation. Dead vegetation is the preferred food for morel mushrooms. Although they may be difficult to see in the landscape, the hunt is worth the payoff when morels are found. Be careful not to eat morel look-a-likes, because they are toxic. Morels are hollow inside and the faux morels are not.
Morel mushrooms thrive on dead vegetation. They grow on dead trees or tree stumps. Search under trees and in thick leaves. Morels can also be found in areas that have recently been burned by forest fire. Well-drained soil is required for morel mushrooms, and they do not tolerate standing water. Although there may be a breeze, morel mushrooms will not grow in areas with moderate or high wind. The wind dries the mushrooms out.
Morel mushrooms are found in heavily wooded areas in the spring. In Tennessee, morels can be found near the mountaintops and ridges. They can also be found near creeks and rivers in areas with sandy soil. Apple orchards are another place to find morels in Tennessee. Finally, some morels have been found near honeysuckle vines. Any forest with dead timber or a lot of ground cover has the possibility of growing morel mushrooms.
Morel hunting is very popular, and in areas where morels are found, many hunters are looking. As long as morel hunters do not put their treasured morels into plastic bags, there is a chance the mushrooms will spore. If you know of a location where others have found morel mushrooms, search close to the trails and under leaves to locate hidden morel mushrooms. Also, if you find morels in one location, going back several days later may reveal new growth, and an abundance of it.
Morel mushrooms spread by disbursing spores. These spores are disbursed near the morel, but can also be carried on the wind. Finding one morel is a great first step, because there are bound to be many more around it. Search in the direction the wind is blowing, because it may have carried spores in that direction.
In Shelby County, yellow morels can be found near dead elm trees. In Morristown, Tennessee, black morels can be found. Rutherford County han abundance of yellow morels. Rutherford County is a very popular place, and cottonwood trees are an excellent location to find stashes of morels. Nashville also has yellows. Knoxville has black morels. Sumner County has black morels near poplar trees. Northwest Tennessee has an abundance of yellows, with hundreds found under a single tree. Tennessee is simply overflowing with morels, and is a great place for morel hunters.