"Bayou Bill" Scifres
Dedicated to the conservation and enjoyment of Indiana's natural resources
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Morels Spring Up When Many Conditions Merge
Copyright © 2008 by Bill Scifres

“What will the rains and snows (we have been getting through the winter and spring) do for this spring’s morel crop?”

This is a very interesting question. We have been getting it for some time.

Actually, with the knowledge we have at hand on the mycological kingdom, it is very difficult to hazard a buttoned-down opinion on this issue. Many weather factors must be considered.

In the first place, wind tends to dry out the forest floor very quickly. On the other hand, I have many times raked back the humus when it was very dry to find black earth quite moist (suitable for mycelium--the stage from which morels occur). Mycelium is a simple “root system” that is often found between humus and the surface of the soil. In reality, the soil and humus are separated by a very fine line--maybe one and the same.

However that may go, mushrooms can “fruit” (occur--they say they don’t grow, but they do) if temperature and moisture are right. For the record, I have experimented with the growth thing many times, and have found that morels do grow. Once I found a one-inch black and simply marked it’s location in my mind. It was four inches larger 10 days later.

So a dry forest floor does not, necessarily stifle development of morels. Still, when coupled with other conditions, it can. In other words, I think fruiting of morels requires other favorable conditions. We think of moisture and temperature, but there may be other factors in the morel scheme of nature.

The earth is well saturated now, but the humus still I drying very quickly. The question revolves around the moisture in the earth immediately below the humus. They could spring up in the next few days if all conditions merge.

BILL JAMES--As noted elsewhere on my web page (http://bayoubill.com ), Bill James, chief of the Division of Fish and Wildlife’s Fisheries Section for many years, has been appointed by President Bush to the Great Lakes Commission, an action that speaks loudly for Bill’s work and dedication to our state.

Bill likes to fish for bluegill. I am very proud to know that he does this with a little antique Heddon Black Beauty flyrod that once nailed bluegill and native brook trout for me.

WILDFLOWERS--The little white snow flowers still is leading the spring parade, but Harbinger-of Spring will be popping their little clusters soon to launch another season of spring beauty and all of the others that follow.  The flower of the harbinger is so small that it also is know as salt and pepper and vice-versa.   . . . some of the bulbs and roots they produce are edible.

WATER WATCH--As those who use the "Water Watch"  feature of my website (http://bayoubill.com) to keep informed on stream and reservoir levels know, staying current has been a big problem because of time limitations.

Now, however, you can get current levels of streams with a mere click on the "Water Watch" web page that brings data directly from the U.S. Geological Survey, and information on the level of many reservoirs from the Louisville Office of the Army Corps of Engineers. The two sources are a great aid to anglers and others. 

All columns, essays, and photos are copyrighted by Bill Scifres and may not be reproduced in any form without prior permission from the author.  For reproduction permission and media usage fees, contact: Bill Scifres, 6420 East 116th Street, Fishers, IN 46038, E-mail: billscifres@aol.com

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