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Seeing the dead Elms through the trees

Discussion in 'Iowa' started by shroomboomblio, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. shroomboomblio

    shroomboomblio Morel Enthusiast

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    Mushrooms could start popping any day, but it's not too early to scout out your search sites.

    Went out looking for mushrooms today and didn't see any, but it is much easier to spot the recently dead Elms through the rest of the trees right now before everything starts leafing out.

    Mature Elms often have a Y shaped fork two thirds of the way up the height of the tree and if they are starting to lose their bark, the white underwood is clearly visible right now through the rest of the trees.

    Here's a link that shows the basic Y shape of a mature Elm, sawtoothed edge and shape of the leaf and also an image of the rough crisscrossing bark. http://www.mushroomexpert.com/plischke_01.html

    Make a mental note of where they're at and you can go right to your dead Elms when the mushrooms do start popping.

    When most trees die they start to lose their bark after 1-2 years, by 5 years the bark has usually completely fallen off. Morchella (Morel) mushrooms usually favor 2-4 year dead Elms where the bark is still in the process of falling off.
     
  2. shroomcrafter

    shroomcrafter Morel Connoisseur

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    Thanks for some very good information, ShroomBoom. Especially the "white underwood" exposed under the peeling bark. That is exactly what I look for when trying to find the dead elms at a distance. I just have never put it into words, nor told anyone when giving them advice. I sure do wish I had included it in my YouTube video "How to Identify Dead Elms," which I posted yesterday on this Iowa board. Also your info on years 1 thru 5 of the dying elm agrees with what I have learned from experience. The link you posted also has some excellent info. Thanks again for sharing. I hope a lot of people read this.
     

  3. shroomboomblio

    shroomboomblio Morel Enthusiast

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    Shroomcrafter,

    I watched your How to Identify Dead Elms on Youtube and thought it was helpful to see good examples of bark patterns up close.

    Leaf litter and bark are nice once you get up close, but the classic Y shape two thirds of the way up the tree really lets you zero in on mature elms from a distance and go right to the correct trees if you're moving through an area.

    One of the things I realize I do wrong when out looking for dead Elms to find mushrooms is I tend to overlook smaller immature elms and your video made me realize that I need to check EVERY dead Elm I come across no matter what the size. Thanks for the visual reminder.
     
  4. shroomcrafter

    shroomcrafter Morel Connoisseur

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    ShroomBoomblio,

    You are so right about the classic Y shape 2/3rds of the way up the tree. That is something I intuitively look for also, as well as the white patches of underwood, but I guess I have never verbally expressed it. Once you learn it that pattern just leaps out at you doesn't it, but sometimes it's a LIVE elm. Oh well, I try to remember where those huge live elms are also for future prospects! There is just something about that thrill of anticipation when spotting a large dead elm top off in the distance. But, sad to say, I'm sure I've overlooked many of the smaller elms also. I would hate to know how many morels I've left standing under smaller dead elms, because I was looking up higher in the canopy for the large dead elm tops. It's hard to change that habit. I've seen a few times that there were surprisingly large patches under those little elms. I usually just stumble onto them and then spot the little dead elm.
     
  5. shroomcrafter

    shroomcrafter Morel Connoisseur

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    ShroomBoomblio,

    I have a couple comments/questions re the excellent article by Plischke that you linked to. 1. He estimates that he finds morels under one out of every 100 - 200 dead elm trees that he checks. That figure seems very high to me, and certainly has not been the norm for me, even in a bad year. Of course, I don't count the trees, but I feel one in 20 - 40 trees would be more representative. And in a good, fertile area with the right amounts of warmth, moisture, etc., one in every 10 - 20 trees, or better. Then, again maybe I just lose track of how many. What do you think of the one in 100 - 200 estimate? 2. He mentioned a dead elm tree that he collected 200 morels under every year for 5 or 6 years. What a tree! He even told the location! I've never seen anything close to that. I'm a little skeptical. He also recommended driving back roads, and getting out of the car for further inspection of good looking areas. He offered many good tips, but that one was questionable. Most landowners would not appreciate that at all. Survivors would be prosecuted.
     
  6. shroomboomblio

    shroomboomblio Morel Enthusiast

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    Shroomcrafter,

    I just picked that Plischke link because it had a good example of the Y shape 2/3 of the way up the tree, white underwood and think it also had a good example of the shape and sawtoothed edge of the leaf. As with any posting on the internet people may or may not know what they're talking about and it's up to the reader to sort it out and make their own decisions.

    I can only speak for my experiences and the conditions I have to hunt in and they are going to be different for everyone.
    In a typical outing to look for mushrooms I would be lucky if I even came across 100 dead Elms to check under. Last year was a bad year and I found very few mushrooms so the 100-200 dead Elm check may have been what it came out to. In a good year it probably is closer to your 20-40 number. Even in prime conditions if you're finding them under every
    10-20 trees you're in a lot better area than I am.

    200 mushrooms under the same tree for 5-6 years sounds like a blessing to me, but who knows? Mushroom hunting is a lot like the stock market; Past performance does not indicate future results! Everyone has their own stories and thoughts on what to do. Conditions usually only stay right for a couple years under a certain tree or specific area. The trees I was finding them under 3 & 4 years ago didn't have any under last year so it's probably time to look for better conditions and new honey holes or check them again this year and see if may conditions are better.

    I agree that people shouldn't cross fence or property lines without permission of the landowners. It's just bad for everyone! Especially while turkey hunting season is on. I have however stopped along side the road and checked trees in the ditches between the roadway and a property or fenceline.

    While checking out your videos on Youtube I also saw your 22lbs under one tree video. Nice haul!
    Looks like easy walking with less groundcover than I'm used to trudging through. Are you in Iowa or can you tell us what part of country you're looking in?

    30+ years ago while out camping is the first and only time I came across a motherload like that! We filled at least 4 coolers and also some trash bags we had with us. The following year that same spot only had a few scattered around the area. Either the tree and fungi expended all their energy at once or it's another reminder to always use mesh, breathable bags. I'm thinking it was a once ion a lifetime find, but hope that's not the case.

    It looks like in all of your videos you're finding Morchella crassipes (Thickfoot) or (Bigfoot) yellows.
    In our area around Dubuque I hear people calling them timber mushrooms and the poundage adds up quickly.
    We tend to have more of the Morchella deliciosa (grays) and Morchella esculenta (smaller whites or yellows).
    Toward the end of the season I usually find just a few Bigfoots and they tend to be in more grassy and open areas.

    Good luck and happy hunting to all this year! Conditions are getting better with the rain moving through right now. The cold isn't ideal, but will probably just delay things.
     
  7. brandonpgm

    brandonpgm Morel Enthusiast

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    I tend to also find them mainly around dead red elms, i dont know why this is but when i see a dead red i am almost for sure planning on finding mushrooms. I went out on tuesday and sure enough found a nice dead red and there were 200 1/2 inch to 2 inch morels around it some were up to 70ft from the tree. monday and tuesday should be awesome after this rain is done. Happy pickens!!!
     
  8. brandonpgm

    brandonpgm Morel Enthusiast

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    Oh yeah im in Cedar Co. by the way
     
  9. shroomcrafter

    shroomcrafter Morel Connoisseur

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    ShroomBoomblio,

    Thanks for replying to my comments and questions. Yeah, Plischke (and I) used the term "100 - 200 dead elms" like it was nothing, but you're right, that is a LOT of elms. I'm blessed to hunt where there are a lot of elms, but I have no idea how many I look under. I do know I walk all day in rough terrain and the undergrowth and foliage gets thicker every year. The 22 lb. tree terrain was not the norm. You could tell how weary I sounded at the end of "Confessions of a Tree Hunter - Part One and Part Two," if you watched them. Age (71) has a lot to do with it. Lol.

    No, I'm not in Iowa, but close by - all five of my morel videos were filmed in Southwest Wisconsin. I've been blessed with some good mushroom habitat. Good luck this next two weeks. Hopefully it will be better than the last three years. I hope you find another motherlode!
     
  10. shroomboomblio

    shroomboomblio Morel Enthusiast

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    It sounds like we're both right in the tri-state area. I checked both the Wisconsin and Illinois boards earlier today and there wasn't much activity on either of them.

    From past experience and what I've read, once things finally start to warm up mushroom emergence usually moves north about 100 miles per week as the daytime temperature stays above 70 degrees. Neither Iowa or Wisconsin message boards are showing much other than a few early ones being found here and there. Next week ought to be better with the wet weekend coming through.