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Thread: Correlation of tap height to sugar content

  1. #1
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    Default Correlation of tap height to sugar content

    There was some discussion on this started over in tubing. I thought I should post my info here.

    Abstract
    Field measurements were taken of sap sugar content and sap flow volume at various heights in sugar maple trees from March 3, 1995 through March 28, 1995. Sugar content and sap flow volume were correlated to the height of the tap in the tree. Taps were placed at various heights in four trees. Low taps were placed below four feet (1.2m), mid taps placed at approximately ten feet (3.0m), and high taps were placed at twenty plus feet (6.0m) where possible. Flow volumes were found to be inconsistent due to poor weather for the time period. Sap from high taps yielded a higher average sugar content relative to sap from lower placed taps. Due to the sporadic flow of sap (again due to weather conditions), it is unclear whether this higher sugar content would have remained constant for the period.

    The numbers:
    All trees were large, full crowned, field edge trees.
    For the period the higher taps produced an average sugar content of 2.9%. The mid taps produced an average 2.7% and the low taps 2.5%.
    The highest overall sugar content reading was 4.7% from a mid tap in tree #1.
    The highest reading for high taps was 4.2% from tree #1.
    The highest reading for mid taps was 4.7% from tree #1.
    The highest reading for low taps was 3.5% from tree # 2.
    The lowest reading from low taps was 1.8% from trees 3 and 4.
    The lowest reading for mid taps was 1.8% from tree #3.
    The lowest reading for high taps was 1.7% from tree #3.
    Average sugar content for tree #1 was: high tap = 3.2%, mid tap = 3.6%, low tap = 2.7%.
    Average sugar content for tree #2 was: high tap = 3.0%, mid tap = 2.6%, low tap = 2.9%.
    Average sugar content for tree #3 was: high tap = 2.5%, mid tap = 2.3%, low tap = 2.4%.
    Average sugar content for tree #4 was: high tap = 3.0%, mid tap = 2.1%, low tap = 2.2%.
    Sap Volume: average daily volume (in litres – sorry) for the period by tap:
    Tree #1: high tap = .37L, mid tap = 1.95L, low tap = 3.67L
    Tree #2: high tap = .43L, mid tap = 4.3L, low tap = 7.0L
    Tree #3: high tap = .6L, mid tap = 1.6L, low tap = 3.2L
    Tree #4: high tap = .35L, mid tap = .133L, low tap = 1.83L
    There were numerous days during the period that zero sap was collected from the high taps when the mid and low taps produced sap.

    Conclusion: (please note that this is an unpublished undergraduate research project)
    Under the proper temperature conditions sugar is constantly supplied to the sap stream. As the sap flows up the tree it is collecting sugar and carrying it up to the twigs. Although a direct relationship between the height of the tap and sugar content has been shown, the higher taps produced a relatively much lower volume. The commercial application of these findings is highly limited. The extremely low comparative volumes of the higher taps would make the tapping of trees at greater than the currently accepted standards not profitable.

    Oh – by the way – I did get an “A” on the paper!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
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    Belchertown, MA
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    Default

    Here's my first thought... high taps on vacuum.

    Average sugar % for high taps: 2.925% or roughly 29.4 gallons needed to make 1 gallon of syrup.
    Average sugar % for low taps: 2.55% or roughly 33.7 gallons needed to make 1 gallon of syrup.
    That means that you need 14% less sap by volume from the high taps vs. the low taps to make the same amount of syrup.

    Average output of high taps: .1155 gallons
    Average output of low taps: 1.036 gallons
    So the high taps are outputting a little more than 8 times less volume than the low taps. I don't think vacuum could overcome that.
    Patrick

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