Because the impacts on yields of early tapping strategies, with or without subsequent rejuvenation, are likely to be affected by weather conditions which can vary widely from year to year, controlled experiments over multiple years are required in order to more fully assess whether any of these strategies result in greater yields than tapholes made during the standard spring sap flow period, or whether any increases in yield would be sufficient to compensate for the increased costs associated with implementing them. Thus, we conducted a multi-year, controlled experiment to assess the yields of several early tapping strategies, with and without subsequent rejuvenation, relative to the yields of standard spring tapholes.
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In response to injury from wounds such as tapholes, trees initiate processes to compartmentalize the affected area in order to prevent the spread of infection by disease- and decay-causing microorganisms beyond the wound, and to preserve the remaining sap conducting system (Shigo 1984). This results in the formation of a column of visibly stained wood above and below the wound, and the affected zone is rendered permanently nonconductive to water and nonproductive for sap collection. These processes, along with effects from microbial activity, are responsible for the gradual reduction in sap flow from tapholes over the course of the production season. There has been recent renewed interest in strategies which attempt to extend the standard sapflow season or increase overall yields through the “rejuvenation” of tapholes. As part of a multi-year experiment to investigate the yields and net economic outcomes of several taphole longevity strategies, we conducted an experiment to investigate the volume of NCW generated in response to two of these strategies.
Maple producers know that when the temperature starts to rise in the spring, sap flows can’t be far behind. But when the weather starts to warm early in the spring and temperatures seem favorable for good sap flows, they are sometimes left wondering why the sap hasn’t started to run. There are several explanations for the disconnect between warm air temperature and a lack of flow during
the early season.