Because the impacts on yields of early tapping strategies, with or without subsequent rejuvenation, are likely to be affected by weather conditions which can vary widely from year to year, controlled experiments over multiple years are required in order to more fully assess whether any of these strategies result in greater yields than tapholes made during the standard spring sap flow period, or whether any increases in yield would be sufficient to compensate for the increased costs associated with implementing them. Thus, we conducted a multi-year, controlled experiment to assess the yields of several early tapping strategies, with and without subsequent rejuvenation, relative to the yields of standard spring tapholes.
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This aim of this project was to determine whether early spout and dropline deployment before tapping could be used while maintaining good sanitation levels and high sap yields.
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.
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.
Annual data on US maple production.
How does a tree respond to the wound created by a taphole, and what does that mean for future sap production?
Explains how sap flows in trees and the impact that tapping has on subsequent years’ sap flow.
As the US domestic maple syrup crop continues to grow the influence of different scales and types of business can shape local communities and national trends. Survey results presented here demonstrate the dramatic difference in the scale of maple enterprises as represented by tap count and the resulting working forest acres these businesses utilize.
Buddy off-flavour is an annual, natural occurrence that has been well recognized since the dawn of commercial maple production in the late 19th century. As we began our investigation there were two basic ideas for the sudden appearance of buddy syrup. The first was that heating sap containing elevated levels of particular amino acids produced compounds (pyrazines) that contributed to buddy off flavour. A more recent idea has been that yeasts in the sap convert sulfur-containing amino acids into compounds that explain the off flavours.
Tapping depth strongly influences both sap yield and wounding. Numerous studies have focused on the amount of sap produced with ifferent depths, the most extensive work conducted by Morrow (1963), who found a tendency for increasing sap yields with increasing taphole depth. However, this work was conducted on gravity with 7/16” tapholes, so is less informative to most producers using 5/16” spouts and vacuum.