Tapping

We will begin tapping Thursday March 11 and here is my experience and thoughts on this:

Last years 2020 temperature patterns look similar to this year.  We tapped in  2020 on March 5 with perfect weather for sap runs 40s day and 20s night , followed by a warm spell of 4 nights  with  night time temperatures above 40. The sap ran a little and we collected about 1000 gallons of sap(minimum need to start the Reverse Osmosis)  from 2500 pails.  Since it was the first boil, we only sweetened the pans and made no syrup.  The warm spell hit and after four days of 40’s and 60s , the “sweetened pan had soured” and the concentrated sap in the evaporator turned stringy like.

Unfortunately I attempted to cook it anyway and it boiled over like Mount Vesuvius.  what a mess, do not try and boil that stuff, bad news

This years temperature pattern is very similar. No freezing nights after this Sunday and temps in the 50s possibly a 60, until nex Thurs March 11, when temperatures go back to normal with highs in the mid thirties and forties and lows in the twenties.  Perfect temps and the snow will be gone!!

Maple Supplies are running low, so if you need something let me know soon.  I have plenty of filters, taps, buckets, hydrometers, quart, 12 and 8 oz glass.   Caps are in short supply so, I am unable to sell large quantities (>24) extra caps with your order of glass.  I will have some ROBucket units in this week. Still waiting for CDL Nano mini RO units as well.

Cheers!

Don

 

When to tap? The age old question

I have always used March 15th as the bench mark date for tapping trees if you use buckets.  Over the last twenty years of syrup making this has been a pretty reliable date.  In our operation we have made most of our syrup in the last week of March and the first week of April.  Once you tap a tree, and leave an open wound the tree begins  close that tap hole.  When using bucket spouts, air and bacteria can also get in the tap hole and dry out and reduce sap flow.  So in my experience tapping a tree means you have basically started a 3 week clock on sap flow.  At the end of 3 weeks those tap holes have reduced sap flow. Tapping early  in March means that you will get in on the early sap runs obviously, however, you will have reduced sap flow in the later sap runs, which in my experience have always been more productive and I want fresher tap holes for those runs.  The risk is that a rapid warm up could occur and there would be no “end of season” surge of sap.  Then tapping early would have been the wise thing to do.

So……   What are we going to do this year???   Well I plan to wait one more week and look at the forecast next Friday March 5.  Granted this week looks pretty good temperature wise.  People have reported some trees dripping and we will have 40’s for highs and 20’s for lows through next Friday.  Red and Silver maples will most likely be running and they  often run early,  so I might be inclined to tap them this week.  Following this week is a period of 3, maybe 4 days of rain/snow, and sap will most likely not run.  After this period, is when I will probably tap since we have mostly sugar maples.  Recall that temperatures were -25 below, about a week ago, so it will take a week of warmer weather thaw those larger trees.

I am looking at  March 11-13 to tap in the St. Croix valley.  The tap holes would then be 3 weeks old at April 6/7 which is typically the end of maple season.

My advice would be to watch the temperature forecasts daily and tap a couple of trees just to see what they are doing.

Be safe out there

Don

 

 

Brief Warming Trend next week Feb 21.

Use this time to get in the woods to do tubing  maintenance/repair and Tapping if you have tubing.  Guys that have tubing have been reporting 50 percent tapped and not a drop of sap,   so the bucket and bag folks can relax and get their evaporators ready to go.  No need to worry about tapping yet,  even if you are tapping soft maples. I will be setting up my smoke and steam stacks, prepping the evaporator and setting up the Reverse Osmosis 900 gallon per hour CDL double post unit.  Alot of you have already purchased glass, which is great.  I have a full line of glass. and the decorative glass is getting sold out so do not delay. I have plenty of quarts, pints, 3/4 pints and half pint glass on hand.   I do not have an abundance of plastic, mostly gallons and 1/2 gallons and half pints.   No quart or plastic pints in stock at this moment…..scarce as hens teeth.

Enjoy the warm up and give me a call if you need supplies, I am around most days including Sunday afternoons till sunset.

Have a great week,

Don