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March 10, 2007



I blogged about the earlier season last year with a late January sap run. This year it began in early january and then stopped for about two months.


The biggest problem is unpredictability, and this leads to earlier but sometimes still premature tapping.


Grandpa Morse apparently knew what tourists want to hear. I have lived in Maine for 30 years and I don't know anybody who actually speaks that way (and I know a few people in their 80s who've never been out of the state).

Greenman, have you noticed any difference in dates when the sap runs in recent years? There was a New York Times article not too long ago on how Vermont farmers are having to tap trees earlier and earlier in the winter to keep their yields at the same level as in previous years when trees were tapped closer to spring.

Unfortunately, it's been archived and costs $4.95 to view, so I can't post a link :-(

The Tour Marm

Years ago I visited Morse farm in Montpelier. They had a very interesting ritual during this season. Old Grandpa Morse, with the best Vermont regional dialect I've ever heard, guided us through this:

First they scooped up some fresh snow, put it in a cone and dripped boiling maple sugar on it. The maple sugar congealed immediately into sticky lace. Aye-yah. It was rather sweet and the sweetness needed to be cut. Aye-yuh. So one was supposed to take a bite from a vinegar pickle. Aye-yuh. Oooo! That's sour sour! Quick, take a bite from a sugared doughnut! Aye-yuh. Again, too sweet, so some straight black coffee was required. Aye-yuh. That's pretty bitter. Back to the maple sugar. Aye-yuh!

Do you have that in Connecticut?

P.S. Virginia, West Virginia, and southern Pennsylvania have some maple sugar farms as well. I'll get in touch with the Mapleman to see how they're faring!


Yes, with the following caveats:

1) Never tap a maple that is less than 12" diameter at breast height (dbh)

2. You can put an additional tap every 6"dbh up to 24"dbh, and never more than 3 buckets. Our shade tree is large enough for three but in a backyard setting we don't want to stress it needlessly and limit ourselves to two.

3. Drill holes need to be at least 6" from old scars. This will effectively limit the number of times a tree can be tapped

4. Drill no deeper than 2". Holes for spiles are 1/2", while modern gravity fed tubing drill holes are narrower.


I am curious. Can a tree be drilled for sap year after year and continue to thrive?

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