Research conducted at the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center over several years to explore a variety of methods to potentially increase sap yields from tubing systems through modifications of the lateral/dropline portion of the sap collection system.
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Can fertilization of sugar maple stands lead to increased diameter growth, better crown conditions, and/or added sugar production? The effectiveness of fertilization depends in large part on soil nutrition.
Maple sap is a complex nutrient matrix collected during spring to produce maple syrup. The characteristics of sap change over the production period and its composition directly impacts syrup quality. This variability could in part be attributed to changes in tree metabolism following dormancy release, but little is known about these changes in deciduous trees. Therefore, understanding the variation in sap composition associated with dormancy release could help pinpoint the causes of some defects in maple syrup. In particular, a defect known as buddy, is an increasing concern for the industry. This off-flavor appears around the time of bud break, hence its name. To investigate sap variation related to bud break and the buddy defect, we monitored sap variation with respect to a dormancy release index (Sbb) and syrup quality. First, we looked at variation in amino acid content during this period. We observed a shift in amino acid relative proportions associated with dormancy release and found that most of them increase rapidly near the point of bud break, correlating with changes in syrup quality. Second, we identified biological processes that respond to variation in maple sap by performing a competition assay using the barcoded Saccharomyces cerevisiae prototroph deletion collection. This untargeted approach revealed that the organic sulfur content may be responsible for the development of the buddy off-flavor, and that dormancy release is necessary for the appearance of the defect, but other factors such as microbial activity may also be contributing.
Sugar maple fact sheet.
Achieving a consistent and acceptable density level for maple syrup continues to be a challenge for many producers.
Through the increased combustion of fossil fuels, humans have dramatically increased pollutant additions of sulfur and nitrogen into the atmosphere wher eit combines with water to form sulfuric and nitric acids, creating acid rain. This article investigates the impact of this issue on sugarbush health.
The tried-and-true value-added maple products include candy and cream, and many producers have taken advantage of these products already. Some have gone further, adding maple products like ice cream, maple cotton candy, and maple-coated popcorn or nuts. More adventurous sugarmakers have begun making additional items, like salad dressings, hot sauces, and dog biscuits.
Over the past six years, my laboratory, and others, have been conducting research focused on identifying bioactive plant compounds (known as phytochemicals or phytonutrients) and evaluating the biological effects of maple syrup, maple water (i.e. maple sap), and maple plant parts and their derived extracts.
The allocation of nonstructural carbon (NSC) to growth, metabolism and storage remains poorly understood, but is critical for the prediction of stress tolerance and mortality. We used the radiocarbon (14C) bomb spike as a tracer of substrate and age of carbon in stemwood NSC, CO2 emitted by stems, tree ring cellulose and stump sprouts regenerated followingharvesting in mature red maple trees. We addressed the following questions: which factors influence the age of stemwood NSC?; to what extent is stored vs new NSC used for metabolism and growth?; and, is older, stored NSC available for use?
Agritourism plays two important roles. First, it educates the public about farming and their local food system. Second, it supports farmers by increasing sales opportunities and building a loyal customer base. The term encompasses an array of on-farm attractions, events, or services. Events can take a simple and limited form such participating in a states maple weekend. Or it can be as complex as opening a restaurant. Agritourism includes anything from school field trips, to B&Bs, to pick-your-own, and wine tastings. Sometimes fun, sometimes educational, sometimes both, the common threads are connection and experience.