Morels are highly prized among mushroom hunters. Their emergence is influenced by soil temperatures. Taking the soil temperature in an area where morels are known to grow is an effective way to gauge when they may appear.
Morel Growth and Emergence
When soil temperatures are ideal, the body of the morel begins to fruit as a tiny knot on an underground network of mycelium, a complex of long, thread-like fungi cells. The knot rapidly enlarges until it becomes a tiny club that pushes its way to the soil surface.
Morels grown under controlled conditions for commercial purposes fruit when the soil reaches a consistent temperature of approximately 53 degrees F. Wild morels also appear under these conditions.
Taking Soil Temperature
Use a probe-type digital thermometer to take soil temperatures. Take the temperature daily and be consistent. Take it in the same spot, at the same time and at the same depth (preferably 2 to 6 inches).
Effects of Temperature Fluctuations
Many factors can influence the soil temperature, including the amount of leaf litter or debris on the ground, the amount of sunlight, rain and air temperature. When weather conditions cause the soil temperature to increase rapidly, morels will appear suddenly. If soil temperature warms slowly, morels take longer to develop.
Cyn Reed has been writing since 1992 on a number of topics, including gardening, wine, food and animals. Her work has appeared in such publications as "Clifton" magazine, "Calliope" and the "Georgetown Review." She is currently working on a book about the oldest trees in the world. Reed has a Bachelor of Arts in English and a Master of Fine Arts in writing.