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Old Jun 16, 2014, 2:59 pm   #1
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Name: Scott
Northern, Ohio USA
Join Date: Apr 27, 2004
Posts: 284

Pin Oaks and Morels

Now that summer has arrived, the woods are finally leafed out and green. This is a great time to identify trees for next years mushroom forays.

As I mentioned in a post earlier, what I'm learning around Northwest Ohio is that Pin Oak is an excellent host tree for Morels. It surprised me to find out that the reason I was finding morels in a certain woods with no apparent host trees was that the host trees were Pin Oak, and I hadn't ever thought of them as host trees. Also, I found that in an area around Harrison where I find morels at the edge of a meadow and woods has young pin oaks there as well.

The problem with pin oak is that the bark varies so much that it is often hard for me to distinguish between them red oak, and several other varieties of oak. But if one can look at the leaves it is easy to identify them. And for those of you in Central and North Central Michigan, where oaks are more abundant than mosquitoes (yeah, I know that is going a bit too far!) it would be helpful to know which were which.

Pin Oak leaves have 7 lobes or protrusions on the leaf much the same as black oak which have 7 also. But in Pin Oak, the sinuses are much deeper and "pinched" looking, making the leaf look a lot narrower than other oaks. When Pin oak are in open areas, the lower limbs point downward, the middle limbs point straight out, and the top branches point up. This is unlike Red Oak which has all the limbs pointing upward. In a wood lot, it is a lot harder to tell by the limbs. But the trunk on a Pin Oak is generally "smoother" than oaks like Black Oak, but not "smooth". The smaller limbs low down on the tree often die when the tree is in a wood lot, and the limbs stay on the tree for a few years. When they do fall off, they leave "swirls" on the bark where the limbs were.

Good luck in your tree identifications. With the ash die-off, it would be helpful to find other host tree for morels upon which you can depend. Good luck!
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Old Jun 21, 2014, 1:06 pm   #2
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Name: Jeff
Southern, Michigan USA
Benton Harbor
Join Date: Feb 26, 2010
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Re: Pin Oaks and Morels

One good thing about Pin Oaks, at least younger ones, is that they often hold onto most of their leaves until the new ones grow in the spring.
They also have a distinctive pyramidal crown with down-turned branches.

Jeff O.
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Old Jun 21, 2014, 11:49 pm   #3
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Name: Scott
Northern, Ohio USA
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Re: Pin Oaks and Morels

I went to a graduation party today. As I walked into the yard I noticed an moderate sized pin oak by the yard. There was also a very large one in the back yard. After a greeting, I asked the owner if he had found any mushrooms around the first pin oak. He said no, but a young lady had found a bunch in his back yard. The place she had found them was close to the second, large pin oak.

They really do produce.
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