University of Vermont Maple Management Webinars

The University of Vermont’s maple team is running a series of free webinars every 2 weeks spanning from July-October 2021.

Topics include:

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You Are Ontario’s Early Warning System: Spotted Lanternfly NYMPHS!

Original posted to onnurserycrops.com by Jennifer Llewellyn, OMAFRA Nursery and Landscape Specialist.

IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE FOUND THIS PEST, PLEASE REPORT IT TO CFIA BY CLICKING HERE. OR Call: 1-800-442-2342

4 photos of spotted lanternfly, top two are a black and red nymph, and bottom two are colourful adults.
Spotted lanternfly nymphs (top row) and adults (bottom row). info.nc.agr.com

Here’s a pest you have been hearing about more and more, the Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula).  It is not a fly, but a planthopper. In the Order Hemiptera, Family Fulgoridae.  It is actually a much stronger hopper than it is a flyer.  They may remind you of frogs they way they sit and hop around. Found recently in the US and now spreading rapidly across several states,  Spotted Lanternfly is a pest we are actively looking for in Ontario.

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Gypsy Moth Webinar on June 10, 2021

The Forest Health Network and the Invasive Species Centre will be hosting a free Gypsy Moth webinar on Thursday June 10th, 2021 at 7pm.

The purpose is to update woodlot owners and homeowners on the current status of the Gypsy Moth hatch and provide a forecast on what to expect this summer. The agenda also includes a Zimmer Air Services Spray Program Update.

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Seeking Feedback on Black Ash Protection and Recovery

Most woodlot owners are familiar with the emerald ash borer (EAB). This invasive insect attacks all five species of ash present in Ontario, and has been shown to kill an estimated 97% of ash trees as they move through an area. Landowners and foresters have responded with various management techniques, many of which include the removal of ash trees. Many folks have adopted the long-term view of encouraging woodlot resiliency; that is, reducing ash tree stocking and encouraging the residual stocking and regeneration of other species.

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April 7, 2021 Maple Syrup Production Report

Sap Flow Overview

The 2021 maple syrup season is officially over. Unusually, most of the province ended around the same time, with the last producers finishing up yesterday. Many will be busy cleaning equipment this week. Producers were saying that this year was the toughest year on record, with the exception of 2012. Several remarked on the unusual dryness of their sugar bushes.

Sap sugar content was lower than average throughout the season, leading to some producers running sap multiple times through the RO, and evaporators working overtime.

Buddy syrup did show up, but for the majority of producers who were able to continue through to this week, it seemed to be continuous warm weather stopping sap flow that ended many production seasons, rather than buddy flavour.

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UPDATED: Information on the End of the Season

[note the updated instructions for removing buddy flavour]

This short season will be coming to a close soon for even our northern producers. Check out some new information pages available on the following end-of-season topics:

Buddy Syrup

Includes what buddy is, what causes it, and the results of some interesting research that could help you get rid of buddy syrup even after you’ve made it.

Before 2020, there has been no way to get rid of the buddy flavour in finished maple syrup. However, researchers at Centre ACER in Québec may have found a method. Before attempting it, remember that this is still new research and there is no guarantee that it will work for you. Make sure to try it on a small scale, such as in a 5L quantity, before expending too much time, fuel, and resources.

Here are the instructions if you’d like to try it for yourself:

  • Boil 5L of buddy maple syrup for 2 hours at 104.5°C
  • Continually add ultrapure or RO permeate water at a rate of approximately 76mL/minute to keep the boiling point and syrup concentration constant. It is better to maintain syrup at slightly higher Brix (above 66 but below 68.9) to prevent mould formation.
  • Taste the syrup at the 60-minute mark; syrups with less buddy flavour may not need the full 2-hour treatment
  • Store treated syrup for 12 months before re-taste-testing, in case the buddy flavour compounds re-form

Again remember that there is no guarantee that this method will work for you. However, I would be interested to hear if anybody tries it! You can email me (jenny.liu2@ontario.ca) with any findings.

Method adapted from Camara et al. 2019.

Cleaning Collection Equipment

Includes information on cleaning, sanitizing, and rinsing bucket and tubing systems (both gravity and vacuum). Syrup producers are tired after a trying season, but timely cleanup will be well worth your efforts.

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March 30, 2021 Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report

Sap Flow Overview

The weather has taken a turn for the warmer in the last week, and across the province nighttime temperatures are forecasted to be above freezing for next week. Many producers are seeing this as signaling the end of this year’s short maple season.

While 2020 was an excellent year for maple syrup, with a few exceptions, 2021 saw decreased syrup production across the province. The size of this decrease varies as producers are reporting anywhere from 10-80% less syrup than last year.

This week, many producers reiterated that their crop was darker than previous years. Some also reported the worst sugar sand/niter and filtering issues that they have seen in a long time, but others have had average sugar sand and some even produced the clearest syrup they have ever made. Sap sugar content has dropped in the past week for most, but syrup flavour is still good to excellent throughout.

In terms of markets, some producers expressed concern that they would have trouble selling their large quantities of dark syrup. Other producers are concerned that they will not have enough syrup to fill the demands of their regular customers, as most have low, if any, inventory left over from last year. It will be interesting to see if this year’s supply affects bulk prices.

Southwest Region

The majority of producers here have ended their maple seasons.

Waterloo-Wellington Region

On average, producers have made between 50-75% of their crop. Some outliers made less than 30% before needing to stop for the season.

Toward the north of the region, soft maples are budding and have been shut down, but hard maples are still running with relatively clear sap. Producers took advantage of the warm weather last week to clean out pipes and equipment in anticipation of one or two final runs toward the end of this week.

Grey-Bruce Region

Producers report having made 50-80% of their crop. Some ended their seasons last week, and many others are expecting it to end very soon with a reduced crop. The size of sap runs last week ranged from partial to very large. Sap sweetness ranged from 1.3-2%. Most sap still appears to be clear, with a few reports of cloudiness in the last couple of runs.

Most are making majority amber syrup, with good to excellent flavour and few filtration problems.

Some producers used the warm weather to flush out sap collection tubing and equipment in the hopes that cooler weather would renew sap runs.

Central Region  

Producers in Quinte, and Lanark report making between 50-80% of their full crop. This week has brought good runs, though some are anticipating that this will be the final push before the season ends. Sap ranges from clear to slightly cloudy, but no microbial taste.

Buddy syrup has been detected in several operations in southern Kawartha. Some producers are halting production having made 60-70% of the crop of an average year.

Eastern Region and Ottawa Valley

Producers have made 25-60% of their annual production. Sap is still clear and syrup colour is mostly dark, with some amber and some very dark. The general consensus is to continue production for as long as possible, as temperatures are fairly promising this coming week. However, once things warm up the week after, producers said that they will likely stop.

Algonquin Region

Crop production reports vary, with some producers having made 30% of their annual production while others expect to be up to 75% by the end of today. The last week saw very good sap flow, though volumes were below average for this point in the season. Sap sugar content is low in this flow as well, and syrup colour is amber to very dark.

Algoma Region

Producers report making 20-50% of their annual crop; some are on schedule while others are producing much less than in previous years. Sugar content still seems to be holding steady. Sap runs have been quite small and sporadic compared to previous years. Sap is still clear, and syrup colour is mostly amber with some dark.

Why does syrup change colour during the season?

The short answer is – friendly microbes. Most producers expect syrup to be lighter at the beginning of the season and darken toward the end. However, as was demonstrated this year, sometimes syrup colour changes even in-season. This is due to the microbes changing the types of sugars in the sap.

The sugar in maple sap is mostly sucrose. Microbes feed on the sucrose and turn it into fructose and glucose.

During boiling, fructose and glucose are much more reactive with other elements in the sap, leading to colour and flavour development. In contrast, sucrose undergoes very little colour and flavour change when boiled, and will remain simple and sweet unless boiled for too long. We have these microbes to thank for complex maple flavour!

Lighter syrup will thus be produced when microbe numbers are reduced. Conditions causing lighter syrup include:

  • Cleaned equipment
  • Clean sap that is filtered immediately after collection
  • Sudden cold temperatures that can kill a number of microbes
  • Cold temperatures that keep the number of microbes low
  • High sap flows whose volumes move too quickly for microbes to transform a significant portion of the sugars

Many producers made darker syrup this year. This may be a result of the unusual warm weather in many parts of the province giving microbes an earlier start than usual.

If you wish to contribute updates, please get in touch:

Jenny Liu
jenny.liu2@ontario.ca
519 835 5872
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March 24, 2021 Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report

Sap Flow Overview

March is marching along, and this season has brought its share of too-cold and too-warm weather. After a week and a half of good sap conditions, the past few days have been too warm for sap to flow in most of the province. This has led producers throughout the South to finish syrup production for the season. Producers who are still boiling are hoping that the colder weather starting this weekend will kick-start the sap again.

Most producers in the South have reported amber and dark syrup making an earlier appearance, though some reported making record light syrup. A larger proportion of the crop was also darker compared to previous years.

Producers throughout the South and Central regions are concerned that the season will be over in the next week or so. Nighttime temperatures will only intermittently dip below freezing, and daytimes will be warm.

Up north, snowcover is still good and producers expect to have a few more weeks of sap weather, but syrup quantity is behind last year. In general, syrup production is down across the province.

Flavour and quality remain very good throughout.

Southwest Region

In the Southwest region, many producers have finished making their syrup for the season. Some on vacuum reported crops of 1.5-1.6L per tap, either on par or less than last year. Most averaged 1-1.5L, but some toward Exeter and Bayfield are at less than 75% of total crop produced.

On Monday March 22, sap production was still reported to be clear for hard maple, and getting cloudy for soft but with no off-flavours.

Waterloo-Wellington Region

There were some good runs in this area earlier in the season but things have slowed down this week due to the warmer weather. Producers report making 50-75% of their annual crop, based on 1L/tap.

The 14-day forecast shows intermittent nights below freezing, and producers are hoping that more sap will run before the buddy flavour appears.

Grey-Bruce Region

Producers near the south end of the region report that their season is likely over, depending on if trees bud in the coming warm spell. The season was short this year, with large sap runs delayed until last week. However, producers near Owen Sound are optimistic that the oncoming colder days will hold off the budding and bring more sap. There is no bud swell yet in the north end.

Producers have made about 50% of their crop. The grade is darker in colour than last year, but the quality and taste are good.

Central and Eastern Regions

In and around Lanark, producers have made 30-50% of the crop. The snow is almost gone in some places, while some still have snowcover on about 50% of the bush. The bulk of this was made in the last week. Cold nighttime temperatures starting on Friday have producers hopeful that next week will bring good runs. Most people have been making golden and amber syrup, and the sap is still clear. There is no sign of budding.

In the Kawartha region, there was great sap flow this past weekend with 3-4 gallons of sap per tap over a few days. Growers are concerned that the season may end this week, and have reported only making about 50% of their crop.

In Prince Edward County, some bucket operations have finished producing for the season.

Algonquin and Northern Algoma Regions

Producers in these regions report making about 20% of their annual production, but some report being behind last year. Syrup colour is ranging from golden to amber.

There is still lots of snow on the ground. Producers are expecting good maple weather over the next two weeks.

Buddy Syrup

Sap collection is finished for the year when dormant buds on maple trees begin to swell and break dormancy. The primary reason we stop collecting sap is due to the change in the chemical makeup of sap, which will cause off-flavours to develop in syrup that is processed using buddy sap.

As buds begin to swell, metabolic activities initiate things like leaf expansion, stem elongation and the emergence of flowers that will soon be ready for pollination.  It involves consumption of sugar energy that is stored in the tree as starch, production of growth hormones involved in cell division and cell expansion, and production of other chemical by-products of growth. Basically, the new springtime ingredients flowing in sap are no longer suitable for maple syrup production.

Trees develop with the weather, so buddy sap occurs at different rates every year depending on how warm it gets.

Four photos of sugar maple buds in a progression of development. A pencil and a ruler are provided for scale; the maple bud starts out the size of the graphite pencil tip and grows to twice the size by the last photo. An arrow under the photos says "good sap" under the small bud and "buddy sap" between the second and third photos.

Food Safety

Check out the new pages on Food Safety, featuring information in the following categories:

If you wish to contribute updates, please get in touch:

Jenny Liu
jenny.liu2@ontario.ca
519 835 5872
Or comment on the post

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Ontario Maple Syrup Production Report for March 10, 2021

Overview

Sap is running! Tapping has been completed throughout most of the province. Producers in the south have already had several boils. Producers further north have also had their first sap runs this week due to the unseasonably warm temperatures of the last few days. Sap flow will likely slow again as temperatures drop next week.

This year, there are widespread concerns about gypsy moth. Keep an eye out for brown masses the size of a toonie on your tree bark.

Some larger producers will be contracting aerial sprayers to deal with the larvae after hatching. Some with smaller acreages are scraping off egg masses with pocket knives while out fixing leaks and tapping. Drop these egg masses into soapy water for a few days to kill the caterpillars, then discard them.

Many producers use the first sap flow of the season to rinse out their lines and make sure they are clean for the oncoming runs. Click here for more information.

Southwest Region

The last growers finished tapping last week, and many were boiling by the last week of February. Growers have processed from 50-75% of the expected crop, based on 1L of finished syrup per tap.

Sugar content is variable and ranges from 1.8 to 2.6 Brix. Golden and light amber syrup are being made, with good flavour.

Waterloo-Wellington Region

Producers have finished tapping, and some have had multiple boils while some are hoping to for a first boil today or in the next few days. The first run of sap has come and gone and been used to flush out the lines. Some producers found higher sap Brix than usual, and most syrup made was golden.

Grey-Bruce Region

Growers report making approximately 5% of their full crop by the end of last week. All syrup was golden. After the initial flush, sap has been clear and runs range from partial to full. Sap sweetness in the last two weeks has hovered around 2 Brix. 

Central and Eastern Regions

In some regions, first sap flow occurring a little over a week ago, with some producers reporting 5 or 6 runs and larger runs this week. Other producers just had their first runs today, and are hoping to boil today or tomorrow. Sap sweetness has been reported at 2.4 Brix.

Algonquin Region

Most producers in the region have completed tapping. Sap started running yesterday for some. There have been no boils yet, but producers are hoping to begin today or tomorrow.

Northern Algoma

Producers completed tapping this week and are waiting for the first run. While the next two days will be warm, daytime temperatures are expected to drop below freezing in the next few weeks.

If you wish to contribute to these updates, please get in touch:

Jenny Liu
jenny.liu2@ontario.ca
519 835 5872
Or comment on the post

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COVID Resource Updates and Sugarbush Management Videos

New COVID Resources

UPDATE on the Enhanced Agri-food Workplace Protection Program – the deadline to submit eligible expenses has been extended to March 12, 2021.

Click to go to the new COVID Resources page, which is chock full of videos and funding opportunities.

Video Tutorials

The most important thing is the long-term health of your sugar bush, orchard, or plantation. Luckily, the Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association has produced several excellent videos.

So, as the influencers say, Click, Like and Share!

Sugar Bush Management Tutorial

Learn how to:
-identify vigorous trees
-identify trees that can be removed
-minimize damage when thinning
-minimize equipment damage

Afforestation/Thinning Tutorial

Learn about:
-what afforestation is
-when to thin
-deciding which trees to thin
-effects of thinning

Plantation Development and Management

Learn how to:
-set up a plantation step-by-step
-identify saplings that will grow into a good sugaring tree
-manage pests
-prune trees
-deal with double stems

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