Tips for Getting Started
Allotrope, without a
doubt, is the best year round hunting tool harvesters have available.
This plant provides harvesters a means to detect Matsutake any
time, except when the ground is covered with snow. Spring and summer
walks in suspect areas could be extremely rewarding. Try to locate
areas at a variety of elevations and aspects. Most years have a defined
production area. Mushrooms are only produced at certian elevations and
aspects. Knowing areas high, low, sunny, and dark, gives you better odds
mushrooms will emerge in an area you scouted. Take the time to find
areas before harvest begins, not when you should be harvesting.
Allatrope can also be
useful during harvest. Their dead bodies can be seen most any time.
While harvesting, examine areas near them. There may be no mushrooms,
but at least you know you are looking in an area that will produce if
conditions are right. Alatropa Virgata
The importance of
forecasting has not been fully realized by the "Matsutake
World". Partially due to an inability to understand, but mostly
disbelief. All forecasting information provided here is based in
statistical evaluations over a 9 year period.
conditions includes knowing when and where it will start, how fast will
they grow, and how much can be expect. All categories of forecasting are
not necessary to become a successful harvester.
To start, mushrooms must
form. Formation falls under the category, "How Much", and
isn't information needed to know when , but if there will be any and how
much. Formation begins with the first cooling in the fall. The second
cooling is when mushrooms can begin to grow. Basic
rule to start looking, Two cold spells, or frosts. This rule can
be followed in most cases. Variations are attributed to fruit growth
category, "How Fast". Mushrooms can start, but not grow.
Where can be more
difficult to determine. Knowing exactly where requires extensive
knowledge of the area in question. Getting a general idea is less
difficult. Depth of original formation cooling is the key.
Basic rule, The deeper the cooling, the sunnier the aspect, and the
lower the elevation. Example: One year you harvested on the north
side, at a high elevation. You found, or remember that the first cooling
wasn't that deep. Another year the cooling was much deeper, and you
found mushrooms in sunnier aspects and lower elevations. Similar cooling
will produce in the same places.
If you don't have this information, all is not lost. A visit to your
allotrope areas is necessary. Start looking in the coolest spots. Look
within a few feet of allotrope sightings. If you find none, don't give
up. Move to areas a little sunnier. Still none, change elevation. After
you locate fruiting, note where fruiting is occurring. Elevation, sun
exposure, aspect, and mushroom age are the keys. Age of mushrooms is
immediately useful. Whatever age you find indicates older mushrooms in
cooler places, and younger in sunnier. Basic rule,
If you are finding older mushrooms, move toward the sun to find younger.
If you are finding immature, move toward cooler spots. This rule
can be followed in most cases. Variations are attributed to fruit growth
category, "How Fast". Mushrooms can grow at different rates
depending on warmth. You may find younger mushrooms in cooler spots
simply because they are not growing as fast. This is not the usual, but
does happen. Use the knowledge acquired on this scout to find more
areas. On your next stop, look for a similar situation. Most harvesters
go into the forest looking at the ground. Look at the canopy and the
exposure. Let them guide you to the same conditions where you have found
fruiting that year. Then start looking for mushrooms.
Growth rate depends on
temperature changes. A general warming is needed with a variation in
daily high and low temps. Extreme warming can slow growth, dry out, or
burn mushrooms. Basic rule, The more the
difference between daily high and the low, the faster growth.
Plan harvest schedules using this rule. Sunnier areas will require more
frequent visits than cooler. For more information refer to: Fruit
Forecasting how much
will be produced is the most difficult for most. There are many
variables which influence final out come. Formation period is also
temperature effected. Moisture is not necessary to form mushrooms. Many
cases of bumper crop years, without rainfall, are a matter of record.
The time between first cooling and second is the formation period. Basic
rule, The longer the period between first cooling and second, with
warming of 5 - 12 degree average daily air temp, the more productive the
season. Elements which inhibit formation are limited warming, too
much warming and extended cooling. More than one formation period may
exist in a given year. Continued cooling enables more area, sunny
aspects and lower elevations, to begin formation. a warming after
several cooling events, each a little cooler than the previous, could
For more info: Fruit