Sugar Maple, Acer saccharum
60-75′ Height and 40-50′ Spread
Beautiful red/orange foliage in Fall
How to identify a Sugar Maple?
- 5 lobes on leaf
- U-shaped margins between points
3.Opposite branching and paired buds
(Exception: Ash & Dogwood)
- Narrow and sleek twigs with reddish brown pointy buds
- Horseshoe shaped fruit with a paired structure resembling two small peas fused together
Can I tap other types of Maple trees if I don’t have sugar maples?
Yes. The sugar maple contains the highest concentration of sugar, therefore it will always be the #1 option, but other maples that are commonly tapped include the silver, black, and red maple. If you are going to tap a maple tree and it is not a sugar maple, make sure to do a little more research! Budding times and other factors can vary drastically.
When to tap?
Late winter or early spring. It all depends on temperature. Sap starts to flow when days are consistently above freezing and nights are below freezing. The drastic temperature changes create a pressure which starts the flow of sap! Heaviest flows are typically late February to mid March. The sap is no longer good once the trees start to bud.
How does the process work?
For every 40 gallons of sap collected, one gallon of maple syrup is made! The process is quite simple. You boil down the sap typically over a wood stove until it reaches 219 degrees Fahrenheit. There are methods that can speed up the process like reverse osmosis systems. This step directly separates the water out of the sap leaving you with higher concentrated sap before boiling. It can reduce boiling time by 60-75%.
What equipment do I need?
- Plastic or metal buckets
- Large pan or bucket for boiling
- Wood stove or other source of heat
- Candy thermometer