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Thread: Could ash be the secret ingredient needed for maple syrup?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Speyside, Canada

    Default Could ash be the secret ingredient needed for maple syrup?


    Friends of Muskoka behind three-year study; They say ash may be the key to saving local forests and waterways

    BRACEBRIDGE - The ash from Muskoka’s fireplaces and woodstoves could help the region’s forests and waterways, protect vital aquatic creatures, and even increase the amount of maple syrup we produce.

    And thanks to a $733,000 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, a three-year study beginning in January will determine the best ways to get the ash where it can do the most good.

    The Ontario Trillium Foundation has announced a $733,600 grant to the HATSOFF project, which is coordinated by the Friends of the Muskoka Watershed (FMW). The project will focus on ways to collect the wood ash, as well as doing field tests to determine exactly how much ash should be spread in different types of forests.

    “This is a great example of how individual community members can work together to make a real difference for our local ecosystem,” said Norman Miller, MPP for Parry Sound-Muskoka. “I encourage residents to take part in this project and I look forward to seeing the results of the study.”

    HATSOFF (Hauling Ash To Save our Forests’ Future) is a unique collaboration between scientists, municipal officials, and property owners, including the region’s maple sugar producers.

    “We’ve known for a long time that calcium is a key factor in our forests and waterways,” explained Norman Yan, one of the nation’s leading freshwater biologists and the chair of the FMW. “Decades of acid rain have flushed a lot of that calcium away, with widespread environmental effects. But wood ash is an efficient way to return calcium into the forest and from there into the waterways.”

    A smaller study, which FMW completed in 2018, confirmed that the ash is not toxic. It also determined that many people who heat with wood are willing to donate their ash and have it spread in the forest.

    This next phase of study will begin by recruiting 100 to 200 Muskoka residents who are willing to donate their ash. FMW will be partnering with the District Municipality of Muskoka to set up collection sites at waste transfer stations.

    “In the meantime,” said Yan, “if you want to contribute your ash to help save our forest, please stockpile it for now. Details on where and how to donate it will be coming early in 2019.”
    2015 - 8 buckets, 332L sap, 8.5L syrup - Barrel evaporator, 2 steam pans
    2016 - 8 buckets, 432L sap
    2017 - 10 bags, 470L sap, 9L syrup
    2018 - 20 bags, 1050L sap, 17.6L syrup

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Potsdam in far northern New York


    Indeed, a bit of ash is good in the forest or the garden. Too much in any one place might not be good as ash and water makes for some pretty strong chemistry. A sugaring operation of any size could never make too much ash for the forest area involved, so use it...spread it far and wide. That said, some ash could be a problem. If you're burning old painted scrap wood, someone should kick you in the head and put an end to it.

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