The area of stained sapwood associated with tapping or other wounds in maple trunks has long been interpreted to represent the area of wood that is compartmentalized, and thus unavailable for sap flow. We tested this interpretation by passing dye through maple stems that had been tapped and observing the area that was blocked. Our results indicate that the blocked portion of the trunk associated with a wound taphole is somewhat larger than the area which is visually compartmentalized (stained).
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Maple tapping guidelines, which specify the number of taps in relation to bole diameter, and the spacing and depth of tapholes, have been devised primarily using sugar maple wounding as a model. With its importance as a present and future resource for maple sap, it is critical that we extend our knowledge about taphole wounds to red maple so that, if necessary, these guidelines can be revised to include the proper and sustainable tapping of this species.