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Thread: Finding good sap wood on older tree?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Ansonia, Connecticut
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    521

    Default Finding good sap wood on older tree?

    Iíve been tapping trees on a neighbors property for a couple of seasons. One tree in particular is a magnificent old specimen with large crown that looks like it should be gushing sap when tapped. Well itís just the opposite- low production for two years. Never tapped before me, tapped on south side, under a nice branch. Any suggestions on how to find productive wood or is it hit or miss? Also, no lines, just bags
    Thanks!
    12 taps for 2009.
    30+ for 2010.
    30+ for 2011.
    2012- Still holding around 30+ with no help in sight.
    2013-Still a loner but what a Fantastic yielding year
    2014- Forever a loner
    2017-Still here, after trying to kick the habit.
    Down to 15-20 taps with the intent to save my marriage.

    Sap Haulers- Kids NADA, I tried but I'm on my own.
    Buckets and Sap Saks, 4 steam pans, Block Evaporator, and single burner propane for finishing.

    http://s778.photobucket.com/home/Valleyman_bucket

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Essex VT
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    Default

    What type of maple is the non producer? Back 30 years ago when I was taping trees at my house using buckets, I had a real nice red maple, 16" in diameter with a nice full crown that would not put out any more than two cups of sap all season. I gave up on the tree after 3 years. 75' from that non producer was a 24" red maple that would overflow buckets just about every day that the sap ran. Some trees just don't donate much to the cause.
    Now using all tubing, I have still been able to find a couple trees that just don't run, mainly red maples but a couple sugars
    Joe
    2004- 470 taps on gravity and buckets
    2006- 590 taps on gravity and buckets 300 gph RO
    2009- 845 taps on vacuum no buckets, 600 gph RO
    2010- 925 taps on vacuum new 2 stage vacuum pump
    2014- 3045 taps on vacuum, new 1200 gph RO
    2015- 3104 taps on vacuum
    2017- 3213 taps on vacuum
    3' x 10' oil fired evaporator with steamaway

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Ansonia, Connecticut
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    Default

    Hi Joe
    Thanks for the input. The tree is a sugar maple which baffles me. All the ingredients are in place- except the flow! Keeps it interesting with the element of surprise. Iíll give it another go and if it doesnít put out Iíll leave her be.
    12 taps for 2009.
    30+ for 2010.
    30+ for 2011.
    2012- Still holding around 30+ with no help in sight.
    2013-Still a loner but what a Fantastic yielding year
    2014- Forever a loner
    2017-Still here, after trying to kick the habit.
    Down to 15-20 taps with the intent to save my marriage.

    Sap Haulers- Kids NADA, I tried but I'm on my own.
    Buckets and Sap Saks, 4 steam pans, Block Evaporator, and single burner propane for finishing.

    http://s778.photobucket.com/home/Valleyman_bucket

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    Default

    As Joe says, some trees just aren't good producers. This seems to be more the case with red maple than sugar maple.

    When you tap, it is nice clear white wood? Inspect the shavings by catching them in the palm of your hand (disregard the brown wood from the bark). If yes, then you should get good sap. If not (you're tapping into stained wood), it is not surprising that you'd get no sap. Besides being dependent on the size of tree, the amount of sap from a taphole is proportional to the amount of stain you hit when tapping. If you hit much stain, you get little sap.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4q7...Ar02q5&index=7

    A couple of things you mention concern me. It is not necessary to always tap on the south side of trees -- in fact, that is not a good practice. Several studies have shown that the sap yield over a season is not different with direction, but the timing is slightly different. South sides run better early in the season -- north sides run better late in the season. Overall the yields even out to be approximately the same on all faces. Tapping only on one side (south) will lead to cluster tapping, a zone of dead wood, and eventually, little or no sap production from that face. It is better to spread the tapholes around the entire stem over time.

    Similarly, there is no need to tap under a large branch or over a large root. There is no difference in sap yield by doing that and again, it leads to cluster tapping problems. Spread out the tapholes across the entire tapping band.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    Dr Tim beat me to it, but he does it with more authority than I do.
    The best practice for next season is to tap 180 degrees from last year, the following year try halfway between the last 2 years and the next year go opposite that. On an older tree you will see evidence of where you tapped for several years, while the hole will heal over the outer bark will show where taps were. If you don't want to drill with just 1 hand so you can catch the drillings, lay a piece of old white sheet or tee shirt under where you are drilling, then examine the shavings, if you are not getting any white shavings, you have drilled into a compartmentalized area. A maple tree seals off any section where the tree was losing sap. It can be from a tap hole or a broken limb. Maybe that big limb you so carefully tried to be under at one time had a broken limb, especially in late winter. When a maple tree detects sap loss it compartmentalizes that area and for the rest of the tree's life, little or more often no sap flows in that area.
    The above pattern for tapping is mostly if on vacuum, tubing, If on buckets the pattern was generally more simple. Basically, move over from last year's tap hole 2-3" and up or down 6". If you got very little or no sap last year, you might want to move over 5-6". Then the following years move over the 2-3", always moving in the same direction.
    Last edited by maple flats; 10-19-2020 at 10:08 AM.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Will hold about the same for 2021
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Temperance Mi
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    When I first started tapping the red maples at my place I wasn't getting the sap volume I was expecting. I was also getting a small amount of brown chips in alot of my taps. This was strange since the trees had never been tapped before. I figured out what was going on a few yrs ago when my neighbor had one of her yard maples that was damaged removed. It was riddled with thin eighth inch galleries of some type of borer about an inch to 2 inches inside the bark. Last yr I hit very little stained wood, since the trees have grown out and over that borer damage.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
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    Connecticut
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    48

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    For what it's worth, I had a maple tree come down in a storm. There was nothing wrong with the tree as far as disease, age or insects. The whole root system came up. And it had never been tapped by me or previous owners. When I cut the tree up for firewood I noticed something I never paid attention to before. The sap ring was all over the place from 2-1/2 " to 1/2" throughout the circumference of the tree. I think it's hit and miss sometimes as to why one tree or one hole runs more than another or why one tree runs good one year and not another. If you were to tap the part of this tree of mine that was only 1/2" wide, I would assume you would not get a good run from it, as your drill would go right through the sap ring. And to look at the outside of the tree, it looked no different where the sap ring was 2-1/2" wide than it did where it was 1/2" wide. Another reason to check the shavings from the drill and peak in the hole I guess.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gord View Post
    Another reason to check the shavings from the drill....
    Correct. The amount of sap you get from a taphole is directly and linearly proportional to the amount of good sapwood you hit. If you don't hit any stain, you'll get maximum production from the taphole. If you hit a lot of stain....not much (or no) sap. Hitting stained wood with some frequency, even if only a small percentage of the time, very quickly impacts your total yield and your profit.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R4q7...5&index=7&t=2s

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=04m3...index=8&t=105s
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

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