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Thread: how early is too early?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2015
    Location
    hills west of Jeff City Missouri
    Posts
    133

    Default how early is too early?

    Some Missouri folks here have already tapped. Sometimes our sapflow continues into mid March. What are problems that might be encountered from tapping this early?
    2020: 220 trees, most smaller than 20" diameter, made 25 gallons
    remote location in western Cole County
    5/16" plastic spiles, drain into plastic buckets or sapsaks
    haul sap out of woods using atv & trailer
    wood-fired pans on concrete blocks
    one Leader Half Pint 24 x 33" plus 24 x 30 ss pan from a junkyard
    cook batch process then finish in the kitchen;
    we dont sell our syrup; its for family & friends
    see website www.mosyrup.com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    1,084

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    the main risk is your taps quit running. Look at Cornell's and Dr. Tim's site on reaming holes. You can get a little more season out of a tap. Using buckets your tap holes will dry up quicker than tubing. Unless you have trees to spare I'd wait a while. I tap early, but I have a dedicated bush for early tapping and one for spring regular season. I never depend on my early taps sustaining good flow through to spring. Sometimes they do, but I don't hang my season on it.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    N.E.Ohio
    Posts
    139

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    Quote Originally Posted by unclejohn View Post
    Some Missouri folks here have already tapped. Sometimes our sapflow continues into mid March. What are problems that might be encountered from tapping this early?
    Many of the canadians are already tapped, just saw this morning that someone in Nova Scotia is tapped made a few hundred gallons and their season can go until may 1st. Seems to be going longer and longer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    84

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    Good idea having some trees early and some late! How do you decide which to tap early and which to tap later?
    I have some on tubing running right to my barn, in the woods, so they are tall without a ton of canopy. I have others on buckets (buckets = 2-3 feet of tubing leading down to a 5 gal pail on the ground), that are out in the open more, and have bigger canopies. These trees are new to me this year.
    Any thoughts on which would be better to tap earlier vs later? Which set of trees would produce better earlier vs later? pros - cons?
    Thanks!
    2017 - 20ish taps on buckets, boiling outside in two baking pans
    2018 - 70+ taps, 14-buckets, 50+ on tubing, homemade arch from oil tank in my barn, 17 gal syrup
    2019 - same set up, 20 gal syrup
    2020 - less taps, short season, but RO kit was fantastic! 6 gal syrup and a maple cat!
    2021 - planning on expanding to 50 taps on buckets and 40 taps on tubing - goal = 10 gal of syrup

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
    Posts
    1,084

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    I would save my best trees for spring. Tap any marginal and junk trees now, early season is not as good for production with less sap and lower sugar. don't gamble with your sure thing trees
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Weston, CT
    Posts
    234

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by therealtreehugger View Post
    Good idea having some trees early and some late! How do you decide which to tap early and which to tap later?
    I have some on tubing running right to my barn, in the woods, so they are tall without a ton of canopy. I have others on buckets (buckets = 2-3 feet of tubing leading down to a 5 gal pail on the ground), that are out in the open more, and have bigger canopies. These trees are new to me this year.
    Any thoughts on which would be better to tap earlier vs later? Which set of trees would produce better earlier vs later? pros - cons?
    Thanks!

    I believe that trees on a south facing aspect are more likely to do better in the early season. I.E. those that get hit by the low sun.

    If your trees are effected by the geo thermal warming of Long Island Sound I would consider taping those early too. In this location you will loose your freezing nights needed for good sap flow earlier in the season then other places 4 sure.

    I have a tree that flowed extremely well when I did tap early in the season and I am suspicious that the reason was that the tree was located in the middle of my leaf compose pile had something to do with it. The ground under the leaves did not freeze very much.

    Here in CT, last year was the first year since I began modern day tapping back in 2016 that I resisted tapping before Feb 15. I was glad that I did because I ended up making just about as much syrup as I did in my peak year since I began tapping in 2016. My season ended by March 15th and I had half the number of fires I had to light as in any of my other seasons since 2016. My gallons of sap was not record but it was close enough. My total amount of syrup made was even close if not tied with my record.

    It also put me in great position to catch the record run of early March which I know was also a record run for another sugar maker about 60 miles to my northeast in CT, who has been tapping for at least 20 years in that region.

    My amount of work last season was easily half that of any other season.

    My rule of thumb for upland CT is ... make sure I have fresh taps for the last two weeks of February and first two weeks of March.

    The world is still the world and it still pretty much does what it always did and I try not to turn into a drama queen over it.
    If you think it's easy to make good money in maple syrup .... then your obviously good at stealing somebody's Maple Syrup.

    Favorite Tree: Sugar Maple
    Most Hated Animal: Sap Sucker
    Most Loved Animal: Devon Rex Cat
    Favorite Kingpin: Bruce Bascom
    40 Sugar Maple Taps ... 23 in CT and 17 in NY .... 29 on gravity tubing and 11 on 5G buckets ... 2019 Totals 508 gallons of sap, 7 boils, 11.4 gallons of syrup.
    1 Girlfriend that gives away all my syrup to her friends.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Cabot Vermont
    Posts
    439

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    I am going to start tapping around the middle of january. Glen Goodrich started tapping around Dec.15. The good thing about tapping is the snow is not so deep.
    Blaisdell's Maple Farm

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2020
    Location
    Stirling ontario
    Posts
    125

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    We had a good run last spring.My last boil was over 60 gallons of sap for 2 litres of syrup.
    I stopped because the sugar content was so low but my trees ran for some time after.
    Tapping early would certainly avoid spoiled sap that an early heat wave can cause in
    the spring.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Bristol, VT
    Posts
    1,895

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    I am going to start tapping around the middle of january. Glen Goodrich started tapping around Dec.15. The good thing about tapping is the snow is not so deep.
    How many taps is Glenn up to now? Did he make any syrup with the xmas thaw?
    About 750 taps on High Vac.
    2.5 x 8 Intens-O-Fire
    Airtech 3 hp LR Pump
    Springtech Elite 500 RO
    14 x 24 Timber Frame SugarHouse
    16 x 22 Sap Shed w/ 1500 gal. + 700 gal. tanks
    www.littlehogbackfarm.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Cabot Vermont
    Posts
    439

    Default

    I talk to him tonight, He said they had 25,000 taps in and sitting on 30,000 gallons of 1.2 sap. He is going to see what he gets from this next warm spell. Then ro it all and boil it. As far as taps go, alittle over 100,000.
    Blaisdell's Maple Farm

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