Near the end of each sugaring season, producers must make a decision when to stop making maple syrup. Sometimes the decision is an easy call, such as when the onset of bud break and cessation of sap flow coincide. The decision to stop production can also be the result of careful economic analysis of the cost of production versus value of the product. The variable costs (fuel, labor, filters, etc.) of any maple operation are a key component to this sort of analysis.
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As the maple industry has grown, so too has the use of plastic sap tubing. Solutions are needed to help producers dispose of tubing when it is past its useful life, in ways that ensure it is not merely ending up in landfills.
Thoughts and data on how setting taps on different aspects of a tree can impact sap yield.
Thoughts on the value of implementing the new maple grading system.
Many researchers, in addition to many sugarmakers, have observed that there is a great range in the amount of sap produced from individual trees in a forest. Understanding, and perhaps predicting the different performances of the trees in a sugarbush is an aspect of maple physiology that remains fascinating.
Maple producers know that when the temperature starts to rise in the spring, sap flows can’t be far behind. But when the weather starts to warm early in the spring and temperatures seem favorable for good sap flows, they are sometimes left wondering why the sap hasn’t started to run. There are several explanations for the disconnect between warm air temperature and a lack of flow during
the early season.
In order to survive, trees must overcome their injuries. But technically they donÕt heal their wounds, at least not the way that human and animal bodies repair, restore, or replace damaged cells or tissue. Trees are built in layers of cells that are bound by rigid walls in a modular, compartmented way. This structure dictates their wound response.
One of the biggest drawbacks of making maple syrup for a back yarder or small maple producer is the time it takes to boil the sap into syrup. The idea of using a small reverse osmosis unit to assist with the syrup making is very interesting to many small maple producers. There are many little reverse osmosis systems available for water purification in households or for small commercial applications. These can be purchased from a number of big box stores, home improvement stores or on line. These RO units can be used to remove water from sap to speed up the concentration and syrup boiling process.
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.