Beginning the Maple Syrup Season

By Richard DeVries

The February weather forecast has been telling us about daytime highs in the forties and nighttime lows well below freezing. It sounded like the perfect weather for the Maple sap to start running, but we decided to wait with tapping our Sugar Maples until March. We did tap two trees mid-February to see if the sap was running, and so far, according to the two empty bags hanging on the trees, we did not miss out on any sap runs. At the end of this week, we will install the tubing and tap over a hundred trees on our south-facing hill behind the Sensory Garden. Usually the sap starts flowing on this side first because it is warmer than the north-facing side, where we will tap an additional hundred trees. New this year will be a vacuum system that we are going to install on our north-facing hill behind the SugarHouse. This will allow us to demonstrate three different sap collecting techniques: old style buckets, a basic gravity tubing system and a modern vacuum tubing system. Throughout March, blue bags will be appearing on the trees. These trees are being tapped by school groups as part of our Learning Center field trip program.

We will keep you updated during the coming weeks about our tapping and cooking progress this maple syrup season.

Richard DeVries is an Arboretum gardener

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