Showing 1 – 10 of 196 resources

Why and How to Check your Hydrometer’s Accuracy

Hydrometers are a critical tool for making high-quality, legal density maple syrup. A $20 to $30 investment in an accurate hydrometer can yield a valuable return in income for the producer. This article explains how to use and test a hydrometer for accuracy.

Reduced Sap Yields When Tapping Into Non- Conductive Wood

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was hit during tapping on average 4.5% of the time and the responses ranged from 0-41% of the time (UVM Extension 2019 unpublished).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.

Managing Invasive Plants in the Sugarbush

The history of introduction of invasive plants into the US is varied, but there are many examples of species that have become interfering after introduction in the middle 1800’s. In most cases the introduction was intentional because of the expectation of a benefit for humans or wildlife. Following are several invasive shrub species common in many areas of the maple syrup producing region of North America.

Ask Proctor: Defoamer

We regularly get questions from maple producers about which defoamers are the best to use. Of course, the answer is…it depends.

Tapping Walnut Trees: Studies on Walnut Sap Flow

Black Walnut (Juglans nigra) is a tree to consider tapping, and Butternut (Juglans cinerea) has similar characteristics and can produce syrup. When considering tapping, however, it is good to understood that walnut trees and not just maples with compound leaves and big edible nuts. Walnuts have anatomical and physiological characteristics that affect tapping and syrup making.

Wound Response to Taphole Rejuvenation Practices

In response to injury from wounds such as tapholes, trees initiate processes to compartmentalize the affected area in order to prevent the spread of infection by disease- and decay-causing microorganisms beyond the wound, and to preserve the remaining sap conducting system (Shigo 1984). This results in the formation of a column of visibly stained wood above and below the wound, and the affected zone is rendered permanently nonconductive to water and nonproductive for sap collection. These processes, along with effects from microbial activity, are responsible for the gradual reduction in sap flow from tapholes over the course of the production season. There has been recent renewed interest in strategies which attempt to extend the standard sapflow season or increase overall yields through the “rejuvenation” of tapholes. As part of a multi-year experiment to investigate the yields and net economic outcomes of several taphole longevity strategies, we conducted an experiment to investigate the volume of NCW generated in response to two of these strategies.

Sugarbush Management and Chainsaw Safety

Maple production requires sugarmakers possess a diverse set of skills in order to tend the forest resource and maintain a productive sap collection system. Maintaining a healthy, diverse sugarbush that maximizes its growth potential requires periodic vegetation management activity. Also known as thinning, vegetation management is the process of reducing competition for light, water and nutrients of crop trees. Felling trees is the key activity in vegetation management and may be done by logging professionals in support of formal forest management plan objectives or by the sugarmaker or landowner on an as needed basis and including response to extreme weather events.

Homemade Small Reverse Osmosis Machines

Small reverse osmosis machines can be built from consumer parts and can help small producers cut down on boiling time and energy use. This article offers tips on building such devices.