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Thread: Evolution of a red maple bush - advice needed

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Puslinch, ON
    Posts
    52

    Default Evolution of a red maple bush - advice needed

    First of all, I am a hobby producer who has let his passion get away from him. I don’t sell my output and cost hasn’t been my criteria as I sink deeper into the depth of this crazy illness.

    I currently run 5/16 lines in 3 very flat, and wet, red maple bushes. In total about 400 taps last year. I have been stringing 5/16 lines, with about 20 taps per line, back to Lunchbox Vacuum/Release pumps in three different bushes. Each Lunchbox takes enough lines to handle over 100 taps. My yield is about 1/2 litre per tap - which is about 33% of what this area yields commercially. This year coming I am reducing to two bushes, each with about 120 taps. I have purchased Guzzler diaphragm pumps and am going to replumb the bushes to use a mainline and run shorter lines with about 8 taps per line into the mainline.

    Questions:
    1. I am planning to use 1” mainline for each bush - is there a problem with using too large a line? I might get away with 3/4.
    2. I was planning to continue to use 5/16 branches but I am getting suggestions to switch to 3/16 and put more taps on each branch. The bush is dead flat (wetland) so any incline will be only by installation. The longest mainline run will be about 300 feet. Would you recommend 5/16 or 3/16?
    Bob Harris, @puslinchbob, since 2009
    70 buckets (sugars), 430 taps on gravity (130) and lunchbox vacuum (300) tubing (all reds)
    30" x 96" Smoky Lake Silver Plate with pre-heat and auto drawoff
    Bombardier Traxter XT fitted with tracks pulling 400 litre tank

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lancaster NH
    Posts
    94

    Default

    My set up sounds like what you have. I use 3/4 mains and 5/16 lats and a guzzler double diaphragm on about 300 tap. I played a bit with 3/16 but am moving back to all 5/16 as I replace things. I ran into slow downs and plug ups with the 3/16. The only 3/16 Ive left up has about 60 foot of drop 50 taps on 3 runs and still runs good so it will stay unless it slows down. I do about .5 gallon per tap average.
    44 27'08/71 27'56
    300 totalish taps 250 on tube and bosworth sap sucker
    50 bucket and bags about 40-50 gallons a season
    on a 2 by 7 home made evaporator and sugar shack
    1st gen circa 1966 still learning stuff

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    DeKalb, NY
    Posts
    1,694

    Default

    With a "flat" bush there is no reason what so ever to use 3/16. You want vacuum transfer to the taphole. I would limit my laterals to 5 or less taps.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Peru, Maine
    Posts
    637

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    You should notice a big difference by reducing your taps per lateral. I would use 8 as a max. and shoot for 5. I'd go with a 1" main, a lot more surface area and not much more cost vs. 3/4"
    380 gravity taps
    2x6 Darveau Mystique Oil Fired Evaporator
    Wesfab 7” filter press
    IBC totes in the woods, 800 Gallon CDL bulk tank at the shack

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    5,025

    Default

    1" mainline provides much more room for vacuum (air) to move across the top. We won't put 3/4" in the woods any longer. The margin for dips is just too small. Let's say you're 3/4" pipe is 1/2 full of sap during good flow. So you've now got 0.375" on the top for air to move through. Now you have a dip in the mainline of 1/4" (common), so now you're down to 1/8" of room for air to move. Air moving in that low a headspace will induce turbulence in the liquid, and will reduce airflow and slow sap movement in the line. The whole thing snowballs until you end up with poor sap and air movement. A 1" pipe gives you more margin for error and better flow at only a small additional cost.

    3/16" tubing is NOT indicated on flat ground. The frictional factor is too high and you'll get less movement. Go with 5/16" tubing.

    Strive for 5 (taps on a lateral line). No more than 10. The best (production-wise) is 1 tap/lateral. That's too costly, so the "strive for 5" is a compromise between production and installation economics. Many high-yield production sugarbushes (high vacuum) typically go less and tend to have 2-3 taps/lateral, with very short laterals and lots of mainline. The "strive for 5" is again a good balance that will result in good production without breaking the bank.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Location
    Puslinch, ON
    Posts
    52

    Default

    Thank you all for your help. One last question: How much slope on the mainline and the lateral lines?
    Bob Harris, @puslinchbob, since 2009
    70 buckets (sugars), 430 taps on gravity (130) and lunchbox vacuum (300) tubing (all reds)
    30" x 96" Smoky Lake Silver Plate with pre-heat and auto drawoff
    Bombardier Traxter XT fitted with tracks pulling 400 litre tank

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    10,473

    Default

    Ideally the mainline should have 2-4% slope, but even 1% will work but it needs to be supported so there are no sags. More than 4% can also work but the steeper you get the more turbulence in the sap. For the laterals, try to get the steepest slope you can.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, downsized after I lost my help, about 450-500 planned for 2021 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    N.E.Ohio
    Posts
    105

    Default

    I would definitely use 1” as well. Its not much of a cost difference and the vacuum transfer is so important, 3/4” like dr tim said on full run days or the smallest sag will block the vac moving inside the tubing.
    Also 3/16 seems to have many problems and many producers are switching back to 5/16.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    205

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    My operation is half 3/16 half 5/16 and I'm swapping from 3/16 to 5/16 because of how many issues I have with it. If you asked me last year I'd have sworn it was as good as 5/16 but after my experience with clogs this year despite proper cleaning it has lost my respect.
    2016- 50 buckets. Made 4 gallons
    2017- 100 buckets, 50 taps on 3/4 mainline and 3/16th tubing + shurflo vacuum. Made 30 gallons.
    2018- 1000 taps on 3/16 + vacuum, 60 buckets - made 378 gallons of syrup.
    2019- 1713 taps on 3/16 + vacuum, NO buckets. Made 500 gallons.
    2020- 2793 taps made 1118 gallons.

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