A Mathematical Model for Maple Sap Exudation

Sap exudation refers to the process whereby sugar maple trees (Acer saccharum) are capable of generating significant stem pressure in a leafless state, something that occurs to a lesser extent in only a few other related species such as birch and walnut. This exudation pressure is what causes maple sap to flow from a taphole in sufficient quantities to be harvested and processed into syrup. Exudation has been studied for well over 100 years and has been the subject of many scientific studies, but there is as yet no definitive explanation for how such large pressures can be generated in the absence of transpiration (i.e., when no photosynthesis occurs to drive the flow of sap).

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