1. Hello! We recently made a change in the software, as a result you might need to change your password. Lost Password Recovery
    Dismiss Notice

Identifying Elm Trees

Discussion in 'Iowa' started by elmseeker, May 7, 2013.

  1. elmseeker

    elmseeker Young Morel

    3
    0
    0
    I used to hunt morels as a boy. Now I'm back in the midwest and I'm excited about morel season. Didn't find any last year, haven't found any this year. Half the time I'm trying to figure out what a damn elm tree looks like. I've downloaded and printed out all the identification charts and leaf charts and bark charts, but I just can't tell if what I'm looking at is an Elm. I can identify Oaks, Maples, Birches (or are they Aspen...?) and Weeping Willows. Anybody have any advice here? The only thing I could find in Winterset today were a lot of trees that seemed to have leaves that had a similar shape to the ones in the photos I downloaded, but they were almost invariably in clusters of three and had none of the trademark seed pod shapes dried or otherwise. Thoughts about what these might be? Any insights into other easy to identify habitat for morels would also be appreciated. Don't want to know your spot, just how to identify a spot that is likely to be good. Thanks.
     
  2. morchella2

    morchella2 Young Morel

    2
    0
    0
    I liked the YouTube tutorials on finding dead elm trees by creatorwise. If you are still stuck I will take a look up at Clarks Tower or Lower Middle River park and see if there is one or two dead elms easy to spot.
     

  3. oldlords

    oldlords Morel Enthusiast

    35
    0
    0
    Only way you will get good at it is by knowing the bark in my opinion. It's to hard to see the leaves a far off. A lot of elms will have the classic Y shape to them about mid way up, but not always. I am still learning like yourself. I got help though as our back yard is all elms. I went up there today to study the bark more closely. I was only up there like 10 min and when coming back in I felt some thing on my leg, and sure enough it was a tick. They are going to be bad this year. If you check back on here tomorrow I will go up and take some pictures close up of the bark and tree. That should give you an idea of how they look right here in Iowa.
     
  4. elmseeker

    elmseeker Young Morel

    3
    0
    0
    That would be great oldlords. If you have a chance to take a photo of the leaves that would be helpful too. I'd like to be able to identify smaller ones too with leaves closer to the ground.

    Morchella2, I live in Des Moines, so if you happen to know any places here in town with a characteristic dead elm for identification purposes (or a live grove), it would be great. Doubt I'll make it down to Madison again this season. Heading west today.
     
  5. elmseeker

    elmseeker Young Morel

    3
    0
    0
    those creatorwise videos are really helpful. Though I'm still not sure, now I'm thinking maybe I was seeing lots of dead elms yesterday...at least there were lots of dead trees....but no mushrooms
     
  6. lorain2013

    lorain2013 Morel Enthusiast

    5
    0
    0
    Bark is dark gray in flat topped ridges separated by roughly diamond shaped areas.Tree is vase shaped.
     
  7. shroomboomblio

    shroomboomblio Morel Enthusiast

    12
    0
    0
    Elmseeker,

    Check out the threads Shroomcrafter and I had on April 29th -30th and following. Pliscke link also shows leaf shape and close ups of bark.

    Lots of good information on the Criss cross pattern of the gray bark, saw toothed edge and shape of the leaf litter on the ground. The best way to spot Elms through the other trees is the white colored pulp wood underneath as the bark falls off along with the Y shape two thirds of the way up the tree where it branches out.
     
  8. shroominandluvinit

    shroominandluvinit Morel Enthusiast

    6
    0
    0
    It's really not rocket science, you either know what your looking at or you don't. Once you've identified an elm, you'll know!
     
  9. davecorren

    davecorren Young Morel

    1
    0
    0
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2017
  10. shroomboomblio

    shroomboomblio Morel Enthusiast

    12
    0
    0
    Here's a decent link that came up when I went to YouTube and did a search for Morels How to identify dead Elm
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Wi_MM8-Yj4

    Lot's of good information and video clips out there if you search for on You Tube or through a regular web browser or search engine.

    Good luck, now is the time to start scoping out this years hunting spots and the dead Elms are easier to see through the trees now than after things leaf out.
     
  11. shroomcrafter

    shroomcrafter Morel Connoisseur

    66
    1
    8
    elmseeker,

    I commend you for being an elmseeker. Stay with it and you will be rewarded. "Seek and you shall find!" You are definitely doing the right thing by trying to locate dead elms before the season starts. ShroomBoomblio, oldlords, and all the others posting on this thread are spot on! You may have already found your dead elms, but it's still too early and the morels aren't up yet. Check them again when you hear the shrooms are up in your area. Sometimes dead oaks resemble dead elms from a distance. When in doubt check them out. I'm adding another of my videos here (I'm "creatorwise" on YouTube), "Go for the Gold! - 14 Lbs." Same thumbnail, but different video than the one above. This hunt took place on April 26, 2012 (spring came 2-3 weeks early) in southwest WI. Once you find a patch memorize that bark and treetop structure. There'll be no stopping you :-D
    [video]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yi-HudYbHXY[/video]
     
  12. shroomhawk

    shroomhawk Morel Enthusiast

    24
    0
    0
    A lot of trees have the criss-cross bark pattern. The shape of the tree gives it away. Look for the trunk to split about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up. All branches grow up and do not spread horizontally, giving the tree a graceful vase shape.
     
  13. shroomboomblio

    shroomboomblio Morel Enthusiast

    12
    0
    0
    Elmseeker et al,

    I'm seeing lots of good advice from some familiar names again this year.
    Was pleasantly surprised when I saw your first message come through last week.

    ShroomHawk's response hit's it right on the head. Shape of the tree is much easier to spot from a distance than looking at the bark. 1/2 to 2/3 of the way up, mature elms branches out into a Y shape. I'm also looking for lighter colored pulp wood underneath where the bark has begun to fall off but not all the bark has fallen from the tree yet. When you read the paragraph below I'm looking for bark indicators in the 2-8 yr range. Light colored pulp wood on a Y shaped tree that has the bark beginning to fall off. Now is the time go out and you can scout entire hillsides from a distance before any emerging foliage starts blocking the view. Make a mental note or even sketch quick diagrams of where your dead Elms are and you'll be able to walk right to them when the time comes.

    When most trees die or receive damge (all these depend on the tree species, but I'm giving you generalizations for Elms)
    1st year the bark will hang on .
    2nd year bark starts to peel and fall off.
    5 yrs Upper limbs will begin to fall and appx 1/2 of the outer bark has fallen off.
    6 years Thermal BTUs of the inner wood begin to dissipate (It'll start to feel lighter than normal if you pick it up)
    8 years 3/4 of the outer bark has fallen off
    10 years most of the outer bark has fallen off and wood begins to turn gray.

    Whenever you see lightning strikes, fires/burn areas and especially fallen limbs or damage to the tree, remember that a trees root structure is often times the inverse of the tree shape above ground. If there's a limb that has fallen from above or an area of the tree that has sustained damage, chances are the corresponding root structure underneath the ground has or will also become affected. One of the 5 criteria mushrooms need to propagate is a food source like a decaying root structure to nourish the mycelia enough to send out it's thread that eventually emerges out of the ground and becomes the root base of the mushroom as we see it on the surface. So... look on the ground, on the same side of the tree underneath where you see damaged, ill or broken limbs or areas on a tree.

    One of the biggest things I realized over the last couple years that I was doing wrong was overlooking smaller or younger elms because they're harder to identify when they're young. These younger Elms are also the ones that may have damaged limbs or specific areas of a tree affected by wind, fire, animals, water or any number of things.

    A second thing that I also realized over the last couple years was how often you find morels along game trails or walking paths that other humans including mushroom hunters may be taking to get back and forth to their vehicles or while they're out walking around. Remember to use an open cell bag so the spores can drop out and propagate as you're walking. It'll make a difference in the years to come.

    ShroomCrafter I always appreciate your videos and carrying bags like you were in your Go for the Gold 14 lbs clip above makes me remember that I was carrying much smaller bags back in 2012. If I remember correctly 2012 was a tough year because we got the temps but didn't have the moisture with it until late in the season. If you ever need another set of eyes to go with you or don't want to be out walking alone in remote wooded areas let me know. From our correspondence last year I think you're not too far away on the other side of the river.


     
  14. taint misbehavin

    taint misbehavin Morel Enthusiast

    5
    0
    0
    I have had some pretty good luck with cottonwoods this year, too. Particularly a little south of Cass County in NE.
     
  15. mikekrebill

    mikekrebill Morel Enthusiast

    10
    0
    0
    No one has mentioned two other easily seen characteristics that help ID American elms: the layers in a piece of bark and the prop roots. Don't have a photo of the first with me, so I'll simply describe it. Break off a small piece of bark and look at the edge to see the layers. American elm has a reddish brown layer that alternates with a whitish-cream colored layer. They then repeat. If you hold it up to a blue sky, you have a great memory device: red, white, and blue = American...elm. Secondly, I've never seen an American elm without brace or prop roots. While not unique to American elm, they are distinctive enough to catch your attention if you are looking for morels and also keep the visual image of the prop roots in mind. Take a look at the cover photo on the Facebook group page of Iowa Mushroom Club. You are welcome to add your postings there, by the way.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2017
  16. mikekrebill

    mikekrebill Morel Enthusiast

    10
    0
    0
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 1, 2017
  17. shroomcrafter

    shroomcrafter Morel Connoisseur

    66
    1
    8
    ShroomBoomblio,

    Your info above on bark indicators in the 2-8 year range was excellent. This is about how I view it from experience, but I had never seen it expressed in writing. And I have the same problem of overlooking the smaller, younger elms. You accurately observed from my Go for the Gold video that I was: 1) hunting alone, 2) deep in a remote woods, 3) tired (my voice gave it away) and probably getting on in years. LOL. I don't actually live in s.w. Wisconsin, but have been blessed to hunt there and meet lots of great folks since 1980, when a UW mycology professor kindly dropped some names of cities in "morel" country. Due to the early spring in 2012, I had to rush "up" there and my hunting buddies couldn't make it. It was great hunting, but I admit to a little nervousness. Long story, but I didn't hunt in 2013, :( nor will I this year :( Not sure about the future? The idea of a shared hunt sounds appealing, and I'm honored that you mentioned it. I sure will keep it in mind if I get back in s.w. Wisconsin, and contact you. With more spare time avail., I've been doing a lot of reminiscing, digging out old photos, etc. and I cobbled together a slide program along with a few of my recent video clips. I uploaded it to Youtube recently: "Morel Mushrooms - Through the Years." My Youtube handle is creatorwise. As you will see, I've been a blessed man, and I do thank God for it.
     
  18. catfishjohn

    catfishjohn Morel Enthusiast

    28
    0
    1
    Well, metalsboyfriend, you forgot to mention cottonwoods while on your rant. They're good trees, too. Glad you've got it all figured out. There's a very good reason no one has successfully cultivated morels commercially. Yeah, a dude in Michigan figured out how to grow them, but they were flavorless and didn't sell well.

    We all go out and hunt them every year, and while a seasoned hunter will have a better grip on "constants", elms are always a good bet, and always the first trees I recommend to newbies. They're abundant in varying habitats and fairly easy to identify. I sure won't be looking past them in the woods this year--or any of the others. Best of luck. Should be a pretty decent year here in IA.
     
  19. shroomtrooper

    shroomtrooper Morel Connoisseur

    418
    1
    0
    I have had so much luck with Elms in My area, I will look at other growth on my way to another Elm. True it may be different in another area, like when I go up north this year looking for blacks in poplar and beech trees, heard conifers also. First year this year looking for blacks.
     
  20. morel meister

    morel meister Morel Enthusiast

    7
    3
    3
    In my experience they'll grow just about anywhere they want...lol...been finding them around a ancient dead Oak tree for 20 or so years, have seen them growing in the middle of peoples yards with no trees anywhere nearby and have even seen them growing out of the pine needles in the middle of a Pine tree wind break on a farm-(easiest to spot Morels I have ever seen in Iowa that I can recall :-D ) Have seen pictures of them growing out of woodchips used in landscaping tho I have never personally witnessed this.

    Elms are great places to look but covering ground elsewhere can be rewarding too...