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Vigor and Nutrition vs. Sap Sugar Concentration in Sugar Maples

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.

Variation in Sugar Content of Maple Sap

A knowledge of variation in sugar content is significant in any program aiming at improvement of existing maple stands. Certainly a factor which cannot be overlooked in making thinning recommendations for a producing stand is the sap quality of the maple trees under consideration. Respective yields, which are related to sugar content of sap as well as to amount of sap produced, must be taken into account.