Below is a list of trees I have heard mentioned as good morel host trees.
Most of the property that I own is mostly higher elevation ridge and hollow type land. Not River or Big Creek Bottom type land.
My places are dominated by white oak, red oak and chestnut oak trees - next most common would be Hickory and Poplar.
I went out yesterday and looked about 3 hours and found no morels yet (not too suprised by that - was sort of expecting to be very lucky to find one this early).
I did focus on S/W facing hillsides and basically just cruised along the hill looking for host trees and then checked about a 10' circle around the bottom of the tree, then moved on until I found another.
What I noticed is that on South/West facing hillsides, there are very few Hickory/Poplar trees. There are a few lower on the hill, but higher on the hill they just play out an Oaks dominate. Poplar and Hickory were more plentiful on N/E facing hillsides.
I only found 3 Sycamore trees and they were right next to the creek - found no Elm or Ash trees at all.
I expect that Elm, Ash and Sycamore are just more likely to show up in lower elevation properties, down around big creek or river bottoms.
Do you guys find the same type pattern to host trees where you live ?
How would you rank the host trees from the list above (1-7) with 1 being best, 7 worst ?
Wondering if I need to focus more on looking in areas where something other than Hickory & Poplar and perhaps a few Sycamore trees are available as host trees.
I took a few pictures of some of my Hickory and Poplar trees that I was looking around and a picture of a water fall on my place.
This is not exactly a reply to your post, but a reply in general about seeing mushrooms that are coming up right now. I am no mushroom hunter, by any means, but yesterday when I was spreading fertilizer I did see the first signs of them along the edge of the woodlot close to my house. They probably would fall in the catergory of LBMs. Morels should be showing up anytime.
Sycamore (Great Late Season host tree for big yellows)
White Pine (Great Late Season host tree for big yellows)I found some big yellows late in the season under some big spruce pines too.
IMHO the last two years I would put Ash right up the above Elm. But Elm tends to be #1 most years and I am not sure why Ash has dominated for the past two years. It leaves many experienced mushroom hunters scratching their heads. Either way Elm is #1 most of the time thou.
TN if you have that many Red and White Oak trees you should be able to find some nice Maitake this fall August, Sept and early Oct.
Good luck on the Morels, you will find them. One tip, I like to get to a good spot around an ash or elm etc and kneel down and look forward 3 to 15 feet. Sometimes early in the year when the mushrooms are small and the same color as the leaves, this will help a little to spot them sticking up out of the leaf litter.
Also if you find a mushroom, place it on the ground sticking up out of the leaves now and then. Then, step back a step or two and then try to spot it. This will help get your eye on them early in the year. Once you are on them you will see them when you shut your eyes just like ginseng after seng hunting.
Hugh I watched some of your videos on youtube. Pretty cool stuff!!
Seriously though, I've heard of all the trees mentioned above and most everyone swears by old dead elm trees. I've had luck finding blacks near wild cherry trees, but have never heard of anyone else having luck around them. From my expeience you just tend to find them where you find them. Generally, if you can locate a fairly large patch, they will be there year after year until something in the habitat changes.