Sap Flow Overview
This season is bringing about its fair share of unusual weather. There have been periods of intense cold punctuated by ideal maple sugaring days. An example from Waterloo-Wellington was Monday’s perfect maple sugaring weather (nighttime low around -8 and daytime high of +6), with very slow sap flow. The slow sap flow was likely due to the biting cold and winds of the preceding Saturday and Sunday (nighttime lows of -10 to -12 and daytime highs of -5) which froze the trees again. Don’t be alarmed if this happens; it just means that the days after will see decent runs when the trees thaw out.
Sap Brix is generally low in regions where sap is just starting to flow, as is common for early season, with a few outliers. Flavour throughout the province averages excellent, with some producers saying it is the best ever.
The two-week weather forecast is causing many producers in southern Ontario to speculate about a shorter-than-average maple season. While there is nothing to be done about the weather, what you can do is ensure that you have tapped your trees properly so that you don’t have leaky spiles, check your lines carefully for leaks and ensure that the vacuum at the taphole (where it matters!) is as high as possible.
If you have time, I would recommend watching this excellent talk on Keys to High Maple Yield by Dr Abby van den Berg from the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Centre. It is especially helpful if you have a vacuum tubing system.
The season is well under way for producers in this area and this week brought good sap flow. Some folks have made up to 70% of an average year’s crop by the date of this report. Brix ranged from 2.3-2.6 in hard maple and 2-2.4 in soft maple, and producers made light amber-amber syrup. There are concerns throughout SW Ontario about the warm 15 degree C+ weather of Wednesday and Thursday. The weekend should be back to maple sugaring weather.
Some producers are experiencing issues with filtration, with black, murky sugar sand being produced and clogging up filter presses quickly. This is not unheard of for the beginning of the season. Brix ranged from 2 to 2.4, and producers are making golden to amber syrup. The season is just starting for most people, having made less than a quarter of an average year’s syrup.
There is still snow on the ground in the northern part of the county. Some producers had their first major run today (Wednesday). Sap brix was quite low at the beginning of the month but has since increased to 1.9-2.5. Sap quality is good. Producers are making darker golden and amber syrup. Like other districts, producers are reporting the black sugar sand appearing during filtration, as well as higher quantities of regular sugar sand as well. Producers have made 8-10% of an average year’s crop.
As of last week, most producers here are tapped in and their lines have been flushed. A few good sap runs happened this week. Reported sap brix was 1.8 to 2.3, and producers are making mostly amber with one making dark syrup. No filtration and clarity issues are reported. This week also brought fairly good sap flow to the region, with, and producers have made up to 12.5% of an average year’s crop.
This area experienced a fairly slow start to the season due to cold weather and possibly a low pressure system that moved through. However, Monday and Tuesday saw fairly good runs and producers are starting to boil regularly. Brix ranged from 2-2.3 with light amber to amber syrup being made. Some producers are more optimistic about the season than others compared to last year, but some are worried about the lack of cold nights. One producers also reported more squirrel damage than usual, which affected vacuum pressure. Checking leaks at the beginning of the season is essential. The ground is still frozen in many places in this region.
Producers here had their first boil in the last week, with lots of sap coming this week. Brix is as high as 2.6, with golden to amber syrup is being made. Producers in this region are also having difficulties with filtration both pre-RO and after finishing, and are seeing the black muck-like sugar sand in their presses.
There was great sap flow last weekend, and this week was quite good as well. Producers have made 10-15% of an average year’s crop. In different bushes, Brix ranges from 1.8 (last week’s measure) to 2.5 this week. Producers are making golden to amber syrup.
Producers here are continuing to tap this week, with a number of them finishing up earlier in the week and checking lines for leaks.
As of this week, most producers are tapped in and lines are checked, and are using the small runs of this week to flush their lines. Most have not experienced a major run yet.
Producers are tapped in and checking lines, waiting for the first runs of the season. There is lots of snow on the ground, and it is expected to last through the warm spells this week.
What’s happening in your bush?
I aim to update this blog weekly on Tuesdays throughout the season. Are you interested in providing quick updates to me? Bookmark this quick and easy 8-question survey – all responses welcome, but responses on Mondays are preferred! You can also text, call, or email me with updates at:
Mobile: 519 835 5872
Many thanks to those who have already participated!
Ontario Maple Syrup Producers’ Association Maple Weekend
Please see the following news release and visit www.mapleweekend.ca for more information.