How to find and fix leaks at or near the taphole in 5/16″ vacuum maple tubing systems.
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The goal of this project was to find alternative ways to reduce microbial contamination of tapholes. One approach we investigated was to use a check-valve to prevent microbial contamination of tapholes by preventing backward movement of sap from the tubing system into the taphole.
Two main issues relate to the sustainability of maple sugaring; tree wounding and sugar removal. In other words, does a tapped maple tree grow more wood than is compartmentalized (functionally “removed by the tree’s normal wound response process) each year and/or does sap collection take more sugar from the tree than can be readily replaced through photosynthesis? These two issues, although separate in some respects, are inextricably intertwined.
Dr. Abby van den Berg presenting on research on early tapping and taphole longevity strategies on sap yield and non-conductive wood (NCW) formation in maple trees at the Dec 2020 Vermont Maple Conference.
Maple producers get lower sap yields and reduced profits when they hit stained (brown) wood when tapping.
Calculates projected sap yield and net profits based upon known relationships between tubing aging and various management strategies under vacuum conditions.
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.
Higher and wider discoloration, compartmentalisation and decay in maple wood by the use of the PFA pellet restricts the healthy sapwood areas and diminishes translocation of sap and nutrients. Furthermore, technological advances for better sanitation in sap collection and storage presently in use by the maple industry, tested by research to be safe for maple tree health and syrup quality, have made the use of the PFA pellet unnecessary.
Feedback received from early users of Leader check-valve adapters, developed by the UVM Proctor Maple Research Center.
Presents research on taps and tapping practices to maximize yield. Also explains sap flow and tree wounding.