Morels are a surefire sign of spring. If you’re up for a hunt, the DNR suggests sticking images of the fungi on your desk or other high visibility areas so you can spot the patterns in nature. Photograph: Iowa Morel Hunters.
We’re hearing from neighbors in southern Iowa that the spring delicacy is popping up throughout wooded areas. With recent rains and warmer temps, it’s time to be on the lookout for the tasty fungi. Here are a few tips from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to enhance your hunting chances.
1. Wait for nature’s signs of spring before searching for morels: lilacs budding and ready to flower; mayapple leaves opened up like umbrellas; and flowering trilliums, bloodroot, trout lily, Virginia bluebells, dandelion, spring beauty and columbine. Track morel sightings: www.morelhunters.com.
2. The chances of finding morels improve when daytime temperatures reach the 60s and nighttime temperatures are in the 50s. More specifically, a soil temperature of 53 degrees is the time to start looking. Variables affecting ground warmth include type of soil, the degree that the ground slopes and its aspect, the amount of sun or shade, soil moisture and the time of day.
3. A warm spring rain can trigger morel emergence. As a general rule in Iowa, it is best to start looking in April, and then continue to hunt through mid-May.
Find more hunting tips as well as cooking advice at the Iowa DNR’s website.