Sap Flow Overview
Spring is certainly the most exciting time of year.. each week of the maple season brings about new developments at a breakneck pace that likely no other crop can match. Producers in the far South are finishing their seasons, and there are many reports of 2023 being a record year, especially for those who started early. These folks began pulling taps and cleaning in the last week. There’s also a shortage of bulk barrels in this area due to the unexpected bumper crop, which is having an effect on supply in other areas of the province.
Further north and east, the only signs of spring are birds returning all over the province. The last week has seen generally good sap flow and folks are slowly but surely approaching their annual average yield.
A note on my use of an “average year’s crop”: my intention is for each survey respondent to provide a percentage based on their own personal average. For some, they may average 0.75L/tap of syrup per year; others may average 2L/tap. This is meant to be a gauge for how far along folks are in the season, or how much yield they’ve produced at a given time, compared to previous years.
I’ve been receiving questions about syrup colour grading requirements. In 2015, the Ontario maple syrup grading system officially changed from the old labels. This was done internationally to standardize 4-5 different grading systems (two of the outdated Canada and USA ones are shown below), and to clearly convey to consumers that syrup colour does not influence quality.
You can read more about the new grades here.
Free Hemlock Woolly Adelgid Webinar
Now’s the time to be scouting for the invasive HWA in your woods, especially if you’re in Southern Ontario where there are several established populations.
In the States and eastern Canada, HWA has caused widespread death and decline of hemlock trees, which in turn negatively impacts the types of animals, plants, and other organisms living in the ecosystem. Eastern hemlock in the southern Appalachian Mountains may be virtually eliminated in the coming years.
When you’re out walking in the woods, flip up the branches of any hemlock trees you pass and look for the telltale cottony buds at the base of the needles.
If you find HWA, or something that you think is HWA, record the location of your find and take photos of the HWA and the trees. Please contact Nicole Mielewczyk Nicole.Mielewczyk@inspection.gc.ca and she will send a survey crew to confirm. Don’t worry about being wrong with you identification, in this case its much better to report.
Alternatively, please call Jenny at 519-835-5872 if you do not have access to email.
You can learn more about HWA at a free webinar that Nova Scotia Nature Trust is running.
Date: Monday April 6, 2023
Time: 6pm EST
Registration link: https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HRenOaQsQhChDLaABVM_7w
Thanks to all who contributed their observations this week. I will send out another reminder to fill in the survey next Monday.
For the maple syrup production report below, find your region here.
We’re coming upon the end of a bumper year! Many producers who tapped in early February are reporting record yields. There were some good runs in this region, but they slowed significantly by late last week. Producers are pulling taps or plan to by the end of this week, though some who have not yet seen signs of bud swell in sugar maple are still continuing. There’s one report of soft maples budding out last weekend. Sap Brix ranges from 1.5-2, and amber and dark syrup are being made. Producers are at 100-250% of an average year’s yield. Specific yields reported are 1.65, 2.2 and 2.5L of syrup/tap.
There were some excellent sap runs last week for some and slower for others, but the weather in the next week looks favourable. Only one report of sap Brix came in at 2 degrees, which was a little lower than average for this respondent. Producers are making golden and amber syrup. No bud swell is being seen and there is still lots of snow in some bushes. Producers have made 20-80% of an average year’s crop, largely depending on when they tapped this year.
Grey-Bruce & District
Sap flow was good across the region, with one producer on vacuum reporting 5L of sap/tap/day and another reporting that last Saturday was the best flow of the season. Sap Brix ranged from 2 to 2.6 degrees and golden and amber syrup are being made. There is no sign of bud swell, but snowpack is variable with one report that the ground is beginning to dry out. Producers have made 15-105% of an average year’s crop.
Simcoe & District
Sap flows in this area were very good in the past week, with one producer on buckets reporting 15L of sap/tap for the week. Sap Brix ranged from 2 to 3.2 degrees, which was about average for most producers reporting. Amber and dark syrup are being made. Producers have made between 20-120% of an average year’s crop, with some on the lower end mentioning that they started late. There is no sign of bud swell, and some colder bushes have just begun to run.
Sap flow was good to excellent for the vast majority of survey respondents in this region. Brix ranges from 2 to 2.8 degrees, and golden to amber syrup is being made by most. Only one producer reports making dark syrup. There is no bud swell and very few signs of spring, with snow still found in sugarbushes. Folks have made 20-75% of their average year’s yield, with most clustering around 50%.
Side note – thank you to the anonymous respondent who shared their excellent production records kept over the past 30 years!
Quinte & District
There was excellent sap flow in this region in the past week. Sap sugar content was reported at 2% and golden, amber, and some dark syrup are being made. No bud swell has been seen for hard maple, but one producer is reporting bud swell in soft maples. Folks have made 30-80% of an average year’s crop, with many clustering around 75%.
Lanark & District
Sap flow was moderate to excellent in this region. Brix for those on lines was reported at 1.8-3, and 2.4-3 for those on buckets. Mostly golden and amber syrup and some dark are being made. Most folks have made 30-80% of an average year’s crop, with one producer reporting 5%. There is still a deep snowpack in many sugar bushes.
This region saw moderate runs in the last week. Brix ranged from 2.1-2.5 degrees, which was average for most reporting producers. Amber syrup is being made, and folks are at about 30-50% of an average year’s crop. There is still a good amount of snow pack in the bushes.
Ottawa Valley District
Most producers in this region (regardless of sap collection method) experienced slow and sporadic sap flow this week, with only one producer on buckets reporting moderate to heavy flow. Brix ranged from 2.8-4 degrees, all reports from producers on buckets. Golden and amber syrup are being made, and producers are at 0-50% of an average year’s crop, with most clustering below 25%. The season has just begun here.
Some folks experienced excellent flow this week and others had very slow flow. Sap sugar ranges from 2.2-2.5, and golden, amber, and some dark syrup are being made. Producers have made 10-50% of an average year’s crop, with most clustering around 20%. No bud swell is reported.
Algoma & District
Producers in this large region experienced a range of sap flow in the past week, from small daily runs to a few very large runs. One producer who just tapped had just enough flow to flush their lines. Only one report of sap Brix came in at 2.2 degrees, and amber and dark syrup are being made. Folks have made 0-30% of an average year’s crop, with no signs of bud swell.