Pear thrips surfaced as a new pest of sugar maple, Acer saccharum Marsh., in 1979. Damage from this insect occurs intermittently, and threatens the long-term health of maple trees throughout the northeastern United States and parts of Canada. A method for sampling forest soil to determine pear thrips populations is described that is suitable for sugarmakers. This method requires a minimum of equipment and time, and provides sugarmakers with a reliable estimate of the number of thrips in their sugar_bushes. By sampling and assessing damage annually, sugarmakers will gain an understanding of the relationship between thrips population levels and damage in their stands. Based on this information, potential damage in the spring can be estimated. Sample results are obtained before tapping so sugarmakers can adjust their management practices, such as the number of taps per tree, to minimize stress on trees when damage is likely.
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Higher and wider discoloration, compartmentalisation and decay in maple wood by the use of the PFA pellet restricts the healthy sapwood areas and diminishes translocation of sap and nutrients. Furthermore, technological advances for better sanitation in sap collection and storage presently in use by the maple industry, tested by research to be safe for maple tree health and syrup quality, have made the use of the PFA pellet unnecessary.
Although maple dieback has received considerable recent attention in the Northeast, little has been reported about the relationship between sap sugar yield and crown health or crown nutrition. We measured sap sugar concentration (sweetness) in six northern Vermont maple stands in the springs of 1990-1992, and sap volume yield from tapholes at one stand in 1991. The stands differed in average crown dieback, canopy transparency, density, and mean dbh, as well as cation exchange capacity (CEC) of upper soil horizons.