Get info before hunting morel mushrooms

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I have been reading about these wonderful wild mushrooms called morels. I want to know where I can go to pick them. I want to go to somewhere near where I live. I understand that there are no bad mushrooms that look like morels so if they are close to the photos I have, they can be picked. Is this right?

I have several mushroom-flavored shocks for you. People who are mushroom hunters do not and will not share their special picking locations. You might as well be asking directions to the treasure of the Sierra Madre or Inca gold.

Morels can be found near dying trees or trees that have dead roots like apples, elms and sometimes pines. But you cannot go onto private property without the owner’s permission.

Every year, there are “hunters” that are surprised to be confronted by property owners while they are in pursuit of wild asparagus, mushrooms, nuts or berries. It’s called trespassing. You cannot hunt mushrooms on State land, either. It is different if you are bird watching or hiking. But you also cannot dig up trees or cut firewood.

You need to talk with the local DNR to find out what is legal and what is not. You can hunt for deer or pheasants or rabbits in certain areas but you have to buy a license.

This all sums up to: Ask before you go onto private property.

As to no bad morel look-alikes, there is one. It is called a false morel. Eating it can cause headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, dizziness or death.

A real morel will have a cap and a stem that are one continuous piece. There are no seams or openings. When sliced lengthwise, they are hollow. The false morel looks like an inverted cup on a stick. There is a separation between the brown cap and stem. The tops are often rounded and look like they are wrinkled or brain-like. They are solid inside and are filled with cottony tissue.

Never eat any mushroom that you are unsure of because there are some that can make you sick and some that can kill you.

Consider the possibilities of joining a mushroom hunters club or taking a class on mushroom identification if you want to pursue this as a hobby.

I have two ash trees that are big. I want to know when to put that stuff on the ground to keep away the emerald ash borers. My friend used the stuff on her big ash tree and it eventually died because of the borers. Why didn’t it work?

If the ash tree is too big, the liquid that is mixed with water and poured on the roots does not work well. The active ingredient in this product is Imidacloprid.

The way to determine if your tree is too big is to measure it. You want to measure from the ground up to a height on the trunk which is 4-1/2 feet high. Then, if you want the diameter of the tree, you measure from side to side. This is called “diameter at breast height” or DBH. If you want the circumference, you measure around like you are measuring your waist.

If the diameter is above 6 inches or the circumference is above 19 inches, the tree has grown too big for the Imidacloprid that is put into the soil to work.

When the ash tree is bigger than this size, you have two choices. Let the tree die or contact a Certified Arborist and have the tree injected. They have products that are not available to homeowners and have the equipment to inject into the trunk of the tree. How much it will cost depends on the size of the tree and the individual applicator. Most products need to be injected once a year in the spring. One product is done every-other year and is usually more expensive. The fork in the road is here. Make a choice that you can live with.

About Gretchen Voyle 51 Articles
Gretchen Voyle is the MSU Extension-Livingston County Horticulture Educator. She can be reached at (517) 546-3950.