Guidelines for tapping maple trees have existed for well over 100 years. Early tapping guidelines came about when buckets (gravity collection) were the only technology available for harvesting sap. New tapping guidelines are based on years of research into maple tree growth, sap harvesting practices/technology and a recognition that tree diameter alone does not fully explain all the factors that determine if tapping intensity in a given sugarbush is sustainable. This fact sheet presents sustainable tapping guidelines.
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Since 1958 the North American Maple Syrup Producers Manual has served as a basic reference source for the production of pure maple products. This 2022 edition provides up-to-date, science-based information and recommendations relating to all aspects of the industry. The guidelines presented will help users ranging from the hobby and beginning producer level to those well-established in the industry. In addition, the information herein will benefit foresters, land managers, Extension and outreach personnel, and others aiming to provide assistance to those in the maple industry. Numerous photographs, tables, a glossary and hyperlinks to selected source materials are included.
This publication is also available in print, at www.mapleresearch.org/ordermanual.
According to a recent survey of more than 300 maple producers in the northeast United States, nonconductive wood was hit during tapping on average 4.5% of the time and the responses ranged from 0-41% of the time (UVM Extension 2019 unpublished). Previous research has explored factors that impact the likelihood of tapping into NCW. Significant factors include but are not limited to; dropline length, taphole diameter, tapping intensity (number of taps/tree) and stem growth (van den Berg and Perkins 2014). Other work touched on the relationship between the amount of conductive wood exposed while tapping and yields (Wilmot et al. 2007). But to date, there has been no direct investigation as to the relationship between the percent of NCW is intercepted while tapping and sap yield. The present study sought to understand the relationship between the amount of NCW in a given tap how and the amount of sap collected, as well as understanding if other factors (sap sweetness) might impact total yields between treatments.