Sap flow and stem pressure in sugar maples during winter dormancy depend on the expansion and contraction of gas bubbles. These gas bubbles are primarily located in the libriform fibers of wood tissues, not in the xylem vessels. Though there are gas bubbles (embolisms) in the xylem vessels, these bubbles are not the dominant drivers of stem pressurization.
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A sugarbush is a special type of woodland. Woodlands include a complex mixture of natural processes and attributes such as soil type, elevation, tree species, types of wildlife, history of use, tree age and more. Foresters can help maple producers gain an in-depth understanding of these factors to achieve a healthy and productivity sugarbush, but there are several steps a maple producer can take on their own.
We are seeing new challenges for our maples and their offspring. Invasive species, climate change, poor forest management, and other factors are all serious threats to the productivity of harvesting maple sugar in the decades to come. However, there are things we can do to protect the tradition of maple sugaring in our regions. Silviculture is our primary tool.
A handbook for beginning sugarmakers, covering the basics of tree identification, sap collection, boiling, and more.
Looking around your woods youÕll see that there are far more trees on the landscape than you have time to measure. The science of forestry has taught us that similar stands (ones that have the same species composition, size classes, productivity, and management history) do not need to undergo a 100% census to get an accurate picture of what is there. Foresters use sampling methods that inventory stands to get an accurate representation of what is in them and the quality of the resource.
Technological advances by maple equipment manufacturers, continued outreach and education by local, state, federal, and provincial maple organizations, and widespread adoption of new management practices by producers have revolutionized the maple industry over the last 20 years. The design and layout of sap collection systems and advances in vacuum pumps and releasers has resulted in higher per tap sap yields well beyond the old standards. Increased per tap volume has been matched with modern high brix reverse osmosis systems and efficiency gains in evaporators, pushing the economic potential of making maple syrup to new heights. Value-added products, niche marketing and branding, and social media and online platforms, coupled with health conscious and savvy consumers,have altered the retail sales landscape and linked rural maple producers to consumers around the world.
Tree identification tool from USDA.
Tree identification tool from USDA.
Could the sugar maples have broken bud during unusually warm January temperatures?
This model estimates the proportion of clear, conductive wood in the tapping zone of an individual tree each year (for 100 years) based on the values input for tree diameter, tapping depth, spout size, number of taps, and dropline length. This is equivalent to the chances of tapping into conductive wood in this tree each year Ð if 80% of the wood in the tapping zone is conductive, you have an 80% chance of hitting conductive wood when you tap that tree. The model can be used to estimate whether various tapping practices are likely to be sustainable. A more complete description of the model and guidelines for its use can be found in the companion technical report “A Model of the Tapping Zone”, which is available on the UVM-PMRC website (http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc).