In 1998, fifteen managed sugar bush blocks with 7% to 72% ice-induced crown damage were established in eastern Ontario. Results suggest that severe ice storm damage to crowns resulted in reduced fall root starch levels and less sap production, and/or sap sweetness, and therefore lowered the syrup producing capacity of sugar maple.
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The leaves on the trees are still mostly green and few have fallen. Does this indicate anything for the upcoming sugar season?
Will the dry weather affect syrup production next spring?
Dr. Tim Perkins (Director-University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center) discusses the intimate relationship between weather and maple sap flow, changing climatic conditions have the potential to affect the maple industry in a variety of ways. This presentation describes research that has been conducted on climate change and maple as well as new ongoing work, and describe some possible effects of changing climate on the future of the industry in the northeast.
Short and long-range weather forecasts can both be useful to determine the proper time to tap. But both also have limitations.
Cornell University’s Maple Specialist, Steve Childs, offers this video series for beginning sugarmakers.
One major limitation to the sap-run forecasting ability of many producers is that measurement of air temperature in one location does not capture the wide variation in air temperature throughout the sugarbush; nor does it accurately reflect the temperature of the diverse parts of trees, or of the soil. A study of the range of temperatures in the forest during sugaring time is helpful in understanding some of the influences of weather on sap flow. This article briefly summarizes a large set of data collected over the past years which includes many sugarbush temperatures, and will give a few examples of the sometimes unexpected variation in temperatures which occur during the spring.
Weather conditions are the single most important factor affecting sap production in the sugar maple. Weather forecasts, therefore, can be a very valuable tool for maple syrup producers.