Good Looking Weather!

by Peter 3/4/2013 4:39:00 AM
 We are expected to get up to a foot of snow in the woods over the next couple of days.  This will help slowthe spring warm up, which tends to prolong the maple sap flow season.  After a few cool days this week, it looks like the following 7 days should all be good for sap flow. What we like to see is below freezing at night followed by a quick warm up. The greater the spread in high and low temperatures, typically the better the sap will flow. All things are looking promising to have a season that is much better than last year. The only lingering uncertainty is that we don't know how the trees will respond to the dry soil that resulted from last summer's drought. 
  High /
Low (°)


Precip. %

Mar 04
Snow 31.0°/22.0° 80 %
Mar 05
Snow 30.0°/5.0° 80 %
Mar 06
Sunny 28.0°/15.0° 0 %
Mar 07
Mostly Cloudy 34.0°/26.0° 10 %
Mar 08
Partly Cloudy 37.0°/30.0° 20 %
Mar 09
AM Clouds / PM Sun 35.0°/20.0° 10 %
Mar 10
Few Showers 39.0°/27.0° 30 %
Mar 11
Rain / Snow 38.0°/30.0° 40 %
Mar 12
Cloudy 37.0°/25.0° 10 %
Mar 13
Scattered Snow Showers 35.0°/24.0° 40 %

The Taps Are In!

by Peter 2/18/2013 7:20:00 AM

Approximately 1000 taps were installed this past weekend as we anticipate warmer temperatures in the next couple of weeks.  The temperature while we were working was chilly, sometimes in the single digits, but there was little wind and the sun was shining, so it was surprisingly enjoyable to be outdoors.  The first thing that we do when we tap the trees is identify the old tap holes from previous seasons.  If the tree is healthy, the old wound will completely heal within one year.  I was a bit worried about what we would find because of the drought last summer, but was pleased to find only about 1% of the trees showed significant signs of stress.  We left those trees untapped and will examine them next year.  The holes were drilled using a 5/16" bit to bore into the tree about 1.5".  This is quite a small hole, about the diameter of a pencil.  We drill the holes a couple inches above or below the previous tap holes and to the left or right about 6 inches.  This gives us fresh wood to draw sap from.  On Friday afternoon we saw a little sap coming out of a few of the holes on the south side of several trees.  This was surprising because the air temperature was well below the freezing point, but proof that the intensity of the sun is getting stronger--the trees were able to absorb the sunlight and warm up because of the dark colored bark.  We are optimistic that we will have a better season this year.  There is about 8" of snow in the woods and the forecast looks promising for some more this week.  The snowpack helps to regulate the spring temperatures, prolonging the season, as well as provide the trees with some needed moisture. 

The Start of the 2013 Season

by Peter 1/22/2013 5:08:00 AM

As I write this entry, the temperature is a couple of degrees below zero--hardly the weather that makes people think about sap flowing!  However, we have planned on putting our taps in on February 15th.  It is impossible to predict if this season will be better than last year, but it is hard to imagine how it could be worse.  Traditionally the best seasons have followed winters where we have a lot of snow.  This seems to prolong the spring thaw and give us more days to collect sap and make syrup.  So far we have not had much snow, but there is still time before the season starts to add to the few inches that are on the forest floor.

 We have added about 300 taps to the pipeline network this year, all of them on the opposite side of the driveway from the rest of the taps.  To collect sap in the same tank, we have used a sap lifter that helps the sap rise vertically 14 feet and cross the driveway.  Hopefully everything will work like it should.  We can't really troubleshoot until it warms up and the sap is flowing. 

Let's hope for snow and lots of sap this season!