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Woods Whys: How Do Trees Heal Wounds on Trunks and Branches?

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.

Working with little ROs for syrup production

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.

Wound Response to Taphole Rejuvenation Practices

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.

Yields from Early Tapping and Taphole “Rejuvenation” Strategies

Because the impacts on yields of early tapping strategies, with or without subsequent rejuvenation, are likely to be affected by weather conditions which can vary widely from year to year, controlled experiments over multiple years are required in order to more fully assess whether any of these strategies result in greater yields than tapholes made during the standard spring sap flow period, or whether any increases in yield would be sufficient to compensate for the increased costs associated with implementing them. Thus, we conducted a multi-year, controlled experiment to assess the yields of several early tapping strategies, with and without subsequent rejuvenation, relative to the yields of standard spring tapholes.

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