Maple syrup production starts by drilling a taphole in the tree. This process injures the wood, which may become discolored or decayed as a result. If trees are to be tapped, every effort must be made to minimize injury while obtaining the desired amount of sap. Information about tapholes is given here for the benefit of the producer. Some important points discussed are: how trees compartmentalize discolored and decayed wood associated with tapholes, how some tapping procedures lead to cambial dieback around the hole, the problem of overtapping related to increased use of mechanical tappers, and new information on the use of para formaldehyde pills, which can lead to more decay in trees.
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In 1974 the Vermont Experiment Station, Proctor Maple research team, and the Northeastern Forest Experiment Economics Research Unit at Burlington, VT, launched an intensive 4-year processing research program. This program was designed to accomplish two major goals: (1) increase the efficiency of the conventional open-pan evaporator system from approximately 65 percent to approximately 80 percent; and (2) evaluate new evaporator systems for processing maple syrup products. As an initial part of the first research objective, the energy balance of the conventional open-pan evaporator has been completed. Also, design and laboratory and field testing of a sap preheater system has been completed.
The total area and number of xylem rays and vessels from tangential and cross sections of twigs of 12 sugar maples (Acer saccharum Marsh.) were determined by the use of an image-analyzing computer. A nested analysis of variance indicated that xylem rays of trees of high sap and sugar yield are more numerous and larger than the rays of other sugar maples. The total area and number of xylem vessels were about the same in all 12 trees.
The three grades of maple syrup and a commercial table syrup containing artificial flavor and 3 percent pure maple syrup were evaluated by 1,018 women in four cities. The results indicate that differences in preference for flavor are related to how close the respondents are to a maple syrup-production region. Differences in preference among grades of pure maple syrup were slight and in reverse order of the quality implied by the Federal grading standard. Outside of the region of maple syrup production, differences in preference between pure maple syrup and the commercial table syrup were marked, and favored the commercial syrup.
Maple syrup made from sap collected using improperly or carelessly installed plastic pipelines varied more in color from day to day, and was more often darker in color, than sap collected from either the property installed pipeline or clean, frequently emptied galvanized buckets. Use of both properly installed tubing and buckets, following recommended procedures, produced light colored syrup of equal quality throughout the entire maple syrup season.