How to Prepare the Soil to Grow Morel Mushrooms

Overview

Morels are one of the most sought-after wild mushrooms, and many chefs consider them a rare and special delicacy. If you can't find a good patch of morels in the wild, you can grow your own at home. Like all mushrooms, morels require a specific habitat and weather conditions, so you will have to choose your site and prepare your soil carefully.

Step 1

Choose a site that is well-suited for morel mushrooms. In the wild, morels grow on the forest floor under oaks, maples, beech, elm, ash and apple trees. Morels require a period of cold followed by warmer weather to trigger fruiting, so morels will only grow in climates that receive a hard freeze in the winter. Morels need a steadily moist environment and may need to be watered in hot or dry weather, so you should choose a site that is accessible to a sprinkler or hose.

Step 2

Rake the leaf litter off the forest floor to expose the bare soil. Use the rake or a garden fork to loosen the soil. If the soil is dry, water it lightly until it is moist and crumbly.

Step 3

Apply the morel mushroom spawn to the loosened soil. The package of spawn should provide specific instructions for how densely to spread the spawn.

Step 4

Cover the spawn with a light layer of wood chips and use a rake to gently mix the spawn and wood chips with the soil. The wood chips should be from oaks or any of the other trees listed in Step 1, and should ideally be from the same species of trees that are growing around your morel mushroom patch.

Step 5

Cover the site with the leaf litter you previously raked off.

Step 6

Water the site regularly to keep it evenly moist. Dry conditions will slow mushroom growth, and overly wet conditions may cause the mushrooms to rot.

Things You'll Need

  • Morel mushroom spawn
  • Wood chips
  • Metal rake
  • Garden fork

References

  • Mushroom People: Morels

Who Can Help

  • Fungi Perfecti
Keywords: grow morels, mushroom cultivation, wild mushrooms, edible fungi, mushroom garden

About this Author

Sonya Welter graduated cum laude from Northland College in 2002, and has worked in the natural foods industry for nearly seven years. As a freelance writer, she specializes in food, health, nature, gardening and green living. She has been published on Ecovian.com, LIVESTRONG.com and several local print publications in Duluth, Minn.