Morel cultivation has proven to be a tricky process. A basic goal to start would be the introduction of morel mycelium into your landscape. Morel pegs are a reliable spawn to serve this purpose. Field & Forest Products offers two different Morel species, so we recommend selecting the Morel variety that is most suited to your property/planting area. The Yellow Morel is often associated with Poplar, Oak, Elm, Ash, and fruit trees, so select planting locations near these trees if possible. The Landscape Morel can be found growing in disturbed soils or in wood chips. Planting Morel spawn with your landscape may take several trial-and-error attempts before a successful growth is achieved. Follow the four guidelines below for planting your outdoor Morel spawn and beginning your own experiment!
Planting Morels with Peg Spawn
1. Select a location
The location should be in a shaded area, aim for an area that receives little to no direct summer sunlight. Also, try to select an area that has access to natural rainfall or can easily be watered - proper moisture management is a critical factor. Keeping the critical factors in mind, feel free to experiment with the process. We suggest selecting a rich mulched area for the Landscape Morel and selecting an area close to a tree line of appropriate host trees (Apple, Elm, Poplar, Oak) for the Yellow Morel.
2. Planting the spawn
Pegs are typically planted 2 per sq. ft. Start by loosening the soil with a shovel or broadfork. Simply press each peg firmly into the soil layer or until it is well anchored. Drive the peg down into the loosened soil with thumb or tap in gently with a hammer. It is important that the peg does not dry out before the Morel can grow into the soil, so be sure the peg is nearly buried. You will want to maintain a soil moisture content within the range of 50-70%. Morels prefer soils with a pH level that is near neutral. Very sandy or clay soils benefit from an addition of compost prior to planting.
Select and prepare your cover substrate - wood chips or a nutrient-poor casing (optional): A 1-2˝ wood chip or mulch layer can be applied right after the peg spawn is planted. Add the mulch or chips until the pegs are completely covered.
Time to plant:
Spring and fall.
Time to fruiting:
Spring or early summer, one (or more) years after planting.
Materials to grow on:
Loose soil, supplemented with compost or covered with mulch.
Plant 2 pegs per sq. ft.
Flavor and texture:
A prominent earthy, nutty or woodsy flavor.
Pegs store for up to 6 months refrigerated.
3. Maintaining and monitoring the planted pegs
Again, think about moisture maintenance. We recommend checking your peg sites regularly at first. Dig down into the soil with your fingers surrounding the peg site - it should be damp, not wet. If it feels dry, then water with a sprinkler. By placing your pegs in an ideal location, your sites may need little to no maintenance!
4. Watch your peg sites in spring
Morels are a seasonal fruiter and will typically start to grow when temperatures warm to 43-50°F (Fret not - fluctuating spring temperatures are helpful for growth). To help stimulate fruiting (usually a year or so after planting), water the area with a lawn sprinkler when temps are in 43-50°F range. Look for the mushrooms when daytime temps approach 70°F. To harvest, cut the stem near the soil surface, properly identify, and enjoy!
*Always be sure to identify your mushrooms before you eat them. Please consult the website and additional resources for more information.