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Thread: Tapping Soft Maples and Budding

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Allegan County, Michigan
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    10

    Default Tapping Soft Maples and Budding

    Toying around with idea of starting to tap my Soft Maples in order to expand operation. My concern is with the Hards it is easy to keep an eye on the “buds”, however by time it is Syrup season Softs already have swollen buds. How do some of you work with and tap Soft Maples?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Stafford Springs, CT
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    792

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    I tap both and have never had a problem. I think the reds either stop producing or produce less sap when they start budding and I don't think I've ever had buddy sap from the red maples. I tap everything at the same time (mid February) and pull the taps at the same time (late March/early April).
    About 600 taps - 350 on Vacuum
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    Wisconsin
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    216

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    A lot of "soft maple", both red and silver, are tapped and make excellent syrup. Many producers have them (especially reds) on the same lines as sugars. Silvers and reds tend to look buddy before their sap actually becomes buddy. There are differences by terrain and sunlight and among various sugarbushes, but personally I would tap them if they are handy for expansion.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Winter, Wisconsin
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    120

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    Reds are pretty much all that I have on my property. They are finicky on bags / buckets so if you can run vacuum, that helps a ton. When in doubt, taste and /or test boil a small amount of sap to make sure it's still good. I don't really notice that big of a difference between when the reds and sugars are done for the season. Silvers are a different story.

    Tap em.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
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    Alcona County, Michigan
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    I have only reds on my property and I have tasted buddy syrup from them, but only after I put them on vacuum and it only happened because I deliberately kept producing on one small sapline long after I thought they would have become buddy. Before vacuum, they just shut down long before turning buddy. If you put them on the same lines with sugars, just be prepared to pull their taps if the syrup starts to taste off, but don't expect that to happen until the leaf buds actually open. If you can actually isolate them onto different saplines and test boil separately, you might learn whether it is a matter of days or weeks between when the reds and sugars are done.
    CE
    44° 41′ 3″ N

    2018 -- 48 Red Maples on 3/16" natural vacuum. My home and sugarbush are for sale.
    2017 -- 84 Red Maples, 1 Sugar Maple, and Silver Maple
    2016 -- 55 Red Maple
    2015 -- 15 Red Maple, 6 Birch - 3+ gallons maple syrup
    An awning over my deck is my sugar shack.
    An electrified kitchen sink and an electrified steam table pan are my evaporators.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    Loudon NH
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    4,966

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    About 90% of my taps are reds and I have been tapping some of them since 2005. I always keep going until we lose the weather or the season ends. I have never made buddy syrup and to this day I don't know what it tastes like. The only off flavor I've ever had here is because of bacteria that occurred when I took too long to finish the evaporator. The sap will make good syrup when the trees flower, the problem comes when the leaf buds open. You haven't specified if you are using vacuum or not. If not it may be a waste of time and money to tap them. They don't like to run unless you suck the sap out of them. Also be prepared to make some better tasting syrup. The reds give the syrup a nice flavor.
    Russ

    "Red Roof Maples" Where the term "boiling soda" was first introduced to the maple producing world!

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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
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    Allegan County, Michigan
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    I will be using buckets or possibly some short tubing runs. I’m more concerned with the plumpness or appearance of swelling of the bud and how to judge when it actually swells. I’m guessing from you all I should just keep my eye on the Hards and use them as my scale.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Location
    SW Michigan
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    101

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    Don't mind the "swell" or "plumpness", that is only a gauge as to how much time may be left in the season. Just look for OPEN buds, that is quite obvious. You can't miss a tree with leaves!
    As others have said, the trees usually stop producing before this becomes an issue.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario Canada
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    41

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    I have mostly silvers and they start to smell buddy early compared to others on the forum. They do start to swell early though while still producing great sap and that's normal for silvers.. however my trees start to go buddy around the end of March.. so usually on the last weekend of March I'm starting to test boil my "open" trees.. those will normally start to have a "woodsy" smell to it first... but still might make fine syrup for another day or two..I just don't chance it and pull the taps when that starts.. then I work towards my shaded trees as I normally get a few extra days out of them..

    When I first started I taped a few trees right at the beginning of April and made horribly smelling and tasting syrup. It was so bad it gave me a headache! I don't take a chance anymore. Started this approach last year and haven't made gross stuff since. In contrast I still have a 1 sugar taped for fun to see how long it will continue to give good sap.. seems to be fine so far... but a lot of makers in the Ottawa area still going well on their sugars.. so you'll definitely want to watch if you're tapping silvers..
    ______________________________
    2018 -19 Trees 20 taps. ~750 Liters sap collected (~50 spoiled ). Syrup count -18 liters syrup
    2017 -4 trees 4 taps. ~60 liters sap, 1.5 liter syrup

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    8,791

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    I tap at my sugarhouse Sugars, Reds and a few silvers. I keep an eye on the buds. Flowers are ok, but as soon as you see any green it is over. At the first sign of green I remove all of the reds and silvers. The sugars continue for 7-14 days and last year it was 3 weeks between first green on Reds and the opening of the buds on Sugars, but that was the longest I ever saw. As others have said, if on buckets the sap will quit, it's only on vacuum that you need to watch close. Reds are not quick to give up their sap if on buckets. Do you have any slope to work with? If yes check out some threads on 3/16 tubing, it will give you vacuum if the elevation drop is there, no pump needed and gravity never breaks down or needs fuel.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, down to about 700 in '16, up to 1000 for 2019?
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