New Morel Hunter - Seeking Tree I.D. Help (pics attached)

Discussion in 'Oklahoma' started by Okie21, Mar 23, 2019.

  1. Okie21

    Okie21 Morel Enthusiast

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    Hello Folks,

    I am new to morel hunting but I have been a hopelessly addicted outdoorsman my entire life. In all my years hunting animals and fishing I never came across a morel until this past spring. The drought-prone tall grass prairie and ag-land habitat where I do most of my (animal) hunting in NW Oklahoma must not be good morel habitat, as I would likely have stumbled across one over my lifetime.

    In any event, I stumbled across a small flush of big yellow morels on April 15th last year while turkey hunting a property near Wellston, OK. I had heard of morels but didn't know what they looked like. Having seen a LOT of different fungi incidentally while hunting each year, I knew what I had found was something different. A quick "googling" of morel mushrooms and their lookalikes yielded me a positive ID that I had indeed stumbled on morels. So I picked them and filled up my turkey decoy. After giving half my finds to the landowner I went home and cooked some. Needless to say I became hooked!

    Unfortunately I was a little late for last season, as my additional foraging of the same property a week later (April 21st) only yielded a few more morels. In reading 2018's OK message board I see that most people in central OK had stopped finding numbers of fresh morels by that time. The initial flush I stumbled on yielded nearly 2 pounds, but all my searching of the rest of 100 acres brought maybe 5 fresh morels. I did find many that were dried and broken though. After that first find I got on this site and read every post for the last three years on the Oklahoma message board. I learned a lot and have subsequently read many articles and watched many videos, and I am very excited to intentionally seek them out this season!

    I am seeking some help with tree ID. Being a hunter of all wild game in our state, I can usually identify (without foliage) most mast-producing trees like oaks walnuts and hickory's, and other trees like cottonwood, willow, hackberry, osage orange, and cedar. However, Elms and Ashes have never really been on my radar as they are not vital to the wildlife I hunt. After much looking online I think I'm starting to see the pattern/characteristics of American Elm bark, but for all I know I'm not on the right track, haha.

    While fishing a few days ago, I stole away to the woods for an hour or so to attempt to identify all the trees around me. I was in a mostly flat ledge above a riparian area. I found cottonwoods and hickories and hackberries, AND what I believe were several elms. I went through the leaf litter under and around these trees and found leaves that I believe are from Elms (serrated on both edges and uneven near the stem). Having never posted here before, I am going to attempt to attach a series of pictures for you all's input.

    I have included pictures of two individual trees, and one cluster of three trunks together. They were all within 10 yards of each other and I found leaves like the ones pictured in my hand under and around each tree. Have I found Elms? If not please offer your opinion of what these trees might be. I would greatly appreciate any help and feedback. Thanks!
     

    Attached Files:

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  2. yocham85

    yocham85 Morel Connoisseur

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    Looks like elm to me. The leaves are for sure but I am better at identifying in person so i can't be 100% maybe others will chime in and help, I myself only do well around american elm Chinese elm dont do well for me. Other may have a diffent opinion.
     

  3. barndog

    barndog Morel Connoisseur

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    Looks like Elm. Next time out there step back and take a pic of the whole tree. Limb and twig structure is a big part of tree id.
     
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  4. Old Elm

    Old Elm Morel Connoisseur

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    806C05C0-C7F1-4616-8B78-6D42012A21A8.jpeg

    The big one is an Elm & the leaves are too. The smaller ones are ash. You can see the diff in the bark.
    Also a hint for the Elm is to snap a piece of bark in half. It should have layers like a kit jar candy bar. The Ash won’t.
     
  5. trahn008

    trahn008 Morel Connoisseur

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    Hunt tree's and pick mushrooms in that order! Every great shroomer I've know past and present are tree experts! Happy Hunting!
     
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  6. Walkabout

    Walkabout Morel Enthusiast

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    Pic1 Elm
    Pic 2 Ash
    Pic 3 Ash
    Pic 4 Ash leaf on left, Elm leaf on right
     
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  7. Okie21

    Okie21 Morel Enthusiast

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    Thank you all for the input! After having studied more pictures and looking back again at my own, I definitely see the differences in bark from the first tree to the next two. I'm picking up on the more uniform diamond patterns in the Ash bark. I now also see the subtle differences in the two leaves I was holding. Thanks for the tip about the bark cross section. That picture you included is a great example! I will be sure to remove a small piece of bark to look at when I go back to that area.

    The same evening I took the above pictures, I took a few more of two other trees I passed about 3/4 mile down from there in a fence line. The branches of each were drooping enough for me to reach and get a picture of their flowers/seeds. They were next to each other and were somewhat similar in size but the flowers/seeds look very different to me. The bark from two look different, but not starkly different to my untrained eye. Below I have attached four pictures, one of the flower/seed and one of the bark of each of the two trees. Please advise as to what trees you think I found. Thanks a bunch!
     

    Attached Files:

  8. Walkabout

    Walkabout Morel Enthusiast

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    Looks like Elm to me. Hard to tell for sure without the whole tree, but my best guess based on what I can see would be slippery Elm
     
  9. avngal

    avngal Morel Enthusiast

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    Hi!
    A couple useful tips when scanning for elms. They tend to have a martini glass shape. They must be freshly dead. If there are buds they will not be stressed and motivated to fruit morels. The bark needs to be just peeling off not a bare tree trunk. I hope this is useful. I will add a few pics.

    Cottonwoods after flooding waters recede. White ash, sycamore, apple, tulip and poplar are also good trees to learn and fruit while the trees are alive.
     

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  10. Walkabout

    Walkabout Morel Enthusiast

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    Classic vase shaped examples of Elm trees. Note the wispy alternating branches and twigs.
    Bark partially detached, but not completely bare trunk.
    Is that the basics to look for avngal?
    Any other tips for locating Elm trees? In the Piedmont of N.C. I often find Elm growing side by side with many Hickory varieties.
     
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  11. avngal

    avngal Morel Enthusiast

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    So with your animal/bird harvesting you are looking at old growth riparian woods. Morels like edges of younger forests (granted check all dead elms wherever you find them), fence lines with elms are also great. Not too wet. If the soil is soupy forget about it. Certain parts of DNR websites list tree composition maps. Study those. Use google maps to see patches of dead trees (less useful now with all of the ash die off but worth a try). For some reason morels will fruit on live ash but not the dead ones from emerald ash borer. In summer look for elms with stunted, tiny leaves. These are dying and may fruit morels the next spring OR the spring after. If the tree is cut down the morels will still fruit around the stump of it is truly dead.
     
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  12. Old Elm

    Old Elm Morel Connoisseur

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    Avngal, didn’t hear much outta you this season- hope it went ok for you.