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Propagating Morels

 
Posts: 529
Location: North-Central Idaho, 4100 ft elev., 24 in precip
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Peter,
Do you have a preferred method of propagating wild morels, and how soon would you be able to tell if your attempts were successful. I tried a spore slurry technique last year, but I have no idea if my attempts were successful. What should I be looking for....other than morels this spring?!?! Thanks!!
 
pollinator
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Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
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I looked this up recently, as part of my own interest in cultivating edible mycorrhizas more generally (although whether the morel is a true mycorrhiza is a little more complicated).

There has been some success cultivating morels commercially, but the methods seem to be under patent, and replication has been tricky.

You need to know about the morel life cycle, which is even more complicated than that of many other fungi. The thing about propagating morels is that they form

sclerotia, structures that allow morels to survive adverse conditions. In the spring, these sclerotia form either new mycelia or fungal fruiting structures. Mycelia form readily; the difficulty lies in being able to force sclerotia to develop fruiting bodies instead.



I have not yet given up, but this article gives you some idea of the problems you're likely to face (it doesn't just talk about truffles): https://www.uky.edu/Ag/CCD/introsheets/truffles.pdf

Hopefully Peter has better advice.
 
pollinator
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Location: Longbranch, WA
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I posted my experience here
After reading the PDF above the fact that it was in an orchard may have been part of the experience. One Youtube experience I commented on bought a kit framed in an area, laid down cardboard and covered it with leaves. The next spring no morels in the framed in bed. but checking the next week they were fruiting in the grass around the framed in bed which was between two trees on the edge of the lawn.
My experience was that they fruited only in the breaks between the pieces of cardboard that I had covered the sandy soil in the orchard and then covered with maple leaves.
Therefore
Condition (1) sandy well drained soil with tree roots
(2) covered all winter with cardboard and leaves which maintains a constant moisture level
(3) breaks in the cover where a dry gap stimulates fruit formation.

Whether the spore was in the cardboard or already existing associated with the fruit trees and was forming scrota as explained in The PDF because the sand would dry out to soon in the spring when I would fork out the grass roots. I don't know but this forum has helped me understand my experience better.
 
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