Maple syrup production starts by drilling a taphole in the tree. This process injures the wood, which may become discolored or decayed as a result. If trees are to be tapped, every effort must be made to minimize injury while obtaining the desired amount of sap. Information about tapholes is given here for the benefit of the producer. Some important points discussed are: how trees compartmentalize discolored and decayed wood associated with tapholes, how some tapping procedures lead to cambial dieback around the hole, the problem of overtapping related to increased use of mechanical tappers, and new information on the use of para formaldehyde pills, which can lead to more decay in trees.
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Accepted tapping practices for 7/16 inch spouts with no vacuum called for tap holes to be drilled 2-2.5 inches deep. Later practices for 5/16 inch spouts under vacuum, call for drilling the tree to a depth of 1.5 inches. The reason for the reduction in depth, was to reduce the occurrence of drilling into dead wood, especially on trees with a long history of tapping. This can lead to reduced sap yield. When the 2018 season left us with an unusually low sap yield, the question arose: does tap depth matter when the system is under vacuum?
When looking to expand the maple industry people often look at the large acreages of forested lands in the public domain. In West Virginia, 16.5 percent of the land is in public ownership, and in Virginia, 17.1 percent. Of that, the largest acreage is managed by the federal National Forest System (NFS). Sugarbush owners adjoining NFS lands might look across the line to tapable maple stands in the national forest. Private citizens or community groups could also look at public lands as a way to get in the business. In this study, we investigated an example of a community group, the Mt. Rogers Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad, that is running a successful maple sugaring operation by tapping trees in the adjoining George Washington-Jefferson National Forest. We examined the sugaring operation and the impacts that the sugaring operation is having on the Whitetop community.
Our objective in this 2020 study was to revisit walnut tree sap flow and to determine whether vacuum applied to sap collection lines would substantially increase the production of walnut sap. Along the way, we made some somewhat startling and troublesome observations and formulated a next generation of questions that need to be answered to allow a viable walnut syrup industry to develop.
This report summarizes the U.S. Forest Service, Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) forest inventory data, collected from 2008 to 2012, for Southern New England, defined as Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. In addition to providing regional and state-level summaries, the reports highlights three focus plots, one average or prototypical plot from each State, as a means to better tell the story of the forests of the region. Forests cover an estimated 5,128,000 acres or 59 percent of Southern New EnglandÑ1,736,000 acres in Connecticut (56 percent of the State), 3,028,000 acres in Massachusetts (61 percent), and 364,000 acres in Rhode Island (55 percent). There was no substantial change in the area of forest land between the current, 2012, and the previous, 2007, FIA inventories.
Analysis of the 2019 NASS survey of maple producing states.
Tapping walnut trees for sap collection and syrup production provides a syrup producer the opportunity to tap into the new, growing, and potentially lucrative specialty tree syrup market. The bulk price for walnut syrup in West Virginia this past season ranged from $150-$250/gallon, with retail sale prices topping $500/gallon (Tonoloway Farm, 2020). To get there, potential walnut syrup producers need to know how and when to tap their trees to maximize sap production. During the 2020 sap flow season, Future Generations University, with a grant from the NE SARE program, conducted studies looking at the application of vacuum, spout design, tapping procedures, and the timing of sap flow in walnut trees. This paper presents part of the findings of that work.
A 107 tap study area was established at John DalenÕs farm in Franklin WV. At this site we carried out a series of trials to learn about walnut sap flow, and to address sap and syrup production issues as they arose. We also collaborated with walnut sap producers in Palestine and Leon WV, and with Virginia TechÕs Catawba Sustainability Center in Blacksburg VA. The analysis section of this report is based on the work done at the Dalen farm study area.