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Thread: Dr. Tim's study on Maple saplings

  1. #1
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    Default Dr. Tim's study on Maple saplings

    Was just reading some about Dr. Tim's study and findings regarding cutting off saplings and attaching vacuum, and think I want to try a test plot of saplings. the question I have is could this possibly work with natural vacuum using 3/16 line, with 200 ft of steep slope. I have a bunch of saplings and resprouts from when our bush was logged, before we got it. They are 150-200 ft above my sugarhouse/ tank setup. I'm thinking of removing the tops of maybe 20-25 saplings, string it all together at the top, and a single line with serious drop to a tank. I want to do a separate tank to see results.

    a lot of comments regarding this study are negative that I've seen, but also by people who obviously have no knowledge of the industry, or his years of study on sap flow. I cant wait to try it, and if it works I could double my tap count. gotta sell enough syrup to get a vac system.
    SevenCreeksSap
    2010- 5 taps -Fish Fryer
    2011 - 2013 - building up
    2014 - 192 Taps on gravity, 2x8 flat pans on homemade evap.
    A wife who doesnt shop and lets me buy Maple stuff

  2. #2
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    I hope that we can supplement our regular sugar bushes with this new technology someday.
    Whether or not we use 5/16" or 3/16" or gravity or vacuum, I think that Dr.Tim and Dr Abby and others will have the best research available to benefit all producers
    Thank you PMRC
    Last edited by Drew Pond Maple; 01-25-2014 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Thanking PMRC
    Mike

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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by SevenCreeksSap View Post
    ...the question I have is could this possibly work with natural vacuum using 3/16 line, with 200 ft of steep slope.
    Won't work with 3/16" natural vacuum. There is no initial flow from these saplings to jump-start the development of vacuum.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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    I personally feel that the funds used to support the sapling project would have been better spent on a large marketing campaign for Vermont Maple Syrup.
    In no way am I questioning the studies at PMRC , I just feel the sapling project will lead to the industrialization of an industry deep in tradition and will lead to a large price drop.
    Anyway, just one guys opinion

  5. #5
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    It is a interesting new concept to making maple syrup but i am just thinking of all the extra labor and expense to keep planting maple tree transplants every year or every other year if a person does a staggered cutting/tapping practice. Then there is a issue of deer browsing and mice and rabbits chewing the bottom bark off. And then theres the insects. More labor and expense to put protectors around the transplants and also a fence up to keep deer out. Cutting grass and weeds between the trees to give the transplants the best survival rate and growth is also thrown into the mix. Round-up would be easier but then you get into the organic issues and also negative impact on the transplants. A person would have to set up irragation also to protect your investment from a drought year. I can see running lines would be alot easier but im not sure of how the cutting of the sapling and putting on the tap-cap would go as far as labor and what the expense would be for them?? It would also be a hard pill to swallow after 7 years of this and it's time to "cut tap" the saplings and we have a year like 2012. At least with mature trees we just say oh well, maybe next year. This is just my opinion, I realize for a corporation that wants to go large scale with this new concept where money and time isn't to much of a big deal, this could be appealing if the syrup price stays up, but for the average person it will be interesting how it turns out especially the profit margin after the time and expense are added up. I know some producers say, "well i don't count my time." With our operation, my brothers and i keep track of every hour/minute. If it's work for maple, we punch in and punch out. If any of you never did this, you should do it sometime. I know in our case where we never hired any employees the hours are unreal. Thats why i think this added work load with the sapling idea, you just might be better off working a minimum wage job without the headaches or gamble.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by PerryFamily View Post
    I personally feel that the funds used to support the sapling project would have been better spent on a large marketing campaign for Vermont Maple Syrup.
    That is not an appropriate use given the source of the research funding. Marketing funds (which is not at all what we do) for VMSMA or whatever entity must be spent for marketing. Research funds for UVM must be spent on research. Depending upon the source of funding, there is typically a lot of communication about what the goals of the project are, and the deliverables. Diverting funds from one thing to something totally different is a really bad thing.

    I just feel the sapling project will lead to the industrialization of an industry deep in tradition and will lead to a large price drop.
    You are certainly entitled to your opinion on that. However when one looks into the history of the maple industry, you can find the same thing said about evaporators, tubing, vacuum, RO, check-valve spouts, etc. I prefer to think of this as a tool, like any other tool. Choose to use it if you want, don't use it if you don't want to. For some it'll be helpful, for others not so much.
    Last edited by DrTimPerkins; 01-26-2014 at 11:02 AM.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    It is a interesting new concept to making maple syrup but i am just thinking of all the extra labor and expense to keep planting maple tree transplants every year or every other year if a person does a staggered cutting/tapping practice.
    You are assuming that cutting the top off kills this tree. This is not at all the case. Maple saplings growing in the open will reform a new crown quite vigorously.

    There are methods to reduce impacts deer browsing. We have considered all these factors. It is impossible to relate all that we have done in even a 1 hr presentation. I can certainly understand people's trepidation about this method, especially if they've not heard the full story.

    saplings1.jpg saplings2.jpg saplings3.jpg saplings4.jpg saplings5.jpg

    With a single-stemmed sapling, you need to cut 6-12 inches back each year to get beyond significant staining caused by the wound. After several years of this you would need to let the sapling "rest" for a few years to regrow. However the BETTER approach would be to encourage the formation of multi-stemmed individuals, which would allow you to cut off one stem one year, another the next, and so forth, which would allow you to continue to harvest from the same stem for a large number of years.

    Now in terms of return for the labor.....think about Christmas tree plantations. Same issues there except that you can only harvest each plant once (or twice if you allow lower braches to stump sprout), and you have to shear every tree each year. These plantations are generally irrigated, fertilized, mowed, etc., but the economics work out even with only 2 harvests.....we are getting a harvest with this system for several years with about the same amount of labor input. For some activities (like cutting and capping the plants) the labor is high. However this method also reduces/eliminates the thinning activities, road-building, running miles and miles of pipeline, walking all the pipeline constantly through the season for leak-checking. Again....we've done our homework....the economic models alone took months of work.
    Last edited by DrTimPerkins; 01-26-2014 at 11:03 AM.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  8. #8
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    I understand the adverse reaction some folks have to this practice, but Iím highly interested in the research.

    I canít see myself planting and maintaining acres of saplings, but I can see augmenting my existing bush with this method as a part of sugar bush management.

    Those deformed and hollow trees that we cull could be allowed to stump sprout and be tapped within our lifetime. Those saplings we would normally remove in a new growth section to promote healthy crown development of other saplings in the area could also be used, at least for a few years.

    With this method we could get sap from trees we otherwise wouldnít, all the while promoting healthy development of new and perhaps some old growth woodlots alike.

    Bring on the research Dr. Tim, Iím all eyes/ears.
    350 taps- 200 on 26" of vacuum, 150 buckets
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  9. #9
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    Default eating crow

    Dr. Tim, I guess i should of waited until i heard or seen about the reuse of saplings for production from year to year before i took it for granted it was a one and done situation. And that multi stems would even further a person along with fresh wood to cap. Obviously that takes out the biggest labor factor and expense that i thought was going to be the normal practice, that being transplanting new saplings year to year. Now knowing this, if i was someone who had open land to plant saplings, or a logged off woods, that maple saplings are growing back, this research would be huge to them if they wanted to get back into or get started in the maple business.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rhino View Post
    Dr. Tim, I guess i should of waited until i heard or seen about the reuse of saplings for production from year to year before i took it for granted it was a one and done situation.
    No problem Rhino -- no offense taken. I understand that this is a very new concept and there is a real lack of complete information for people to learn more about and understand this process. We also understand that it is very different in many ways. People's reactions to it vary considerably, but for the most part, we've been fairly happy with the response. We aren't really suggesting that people run right out and try this (there are no sap collection devices available and on instructions yet anyhow), but it is something we want folks to know we are working on, and want them to understand that it is simply another tool for maple producers that might be useful in some instances and not in others.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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