This might be slightly off topic, but down the road from us there's a guy
who does a fair amount of syrup making in the spring. Every single maple
tree has a spigot and a hose attached. Does sucking the sap out of a maple
tree during what I can only assume is the most important stage to a tree's
seasonal growth hurt it in any way? Does it make it better or worse for
woodworking, or result in figure of some sort? Or does it just not matter?
Friend of mine's family in central Wisconsin did sugarbush every year.
Not a major cash operation, but every time the sap ran they'd go out and
tap n boil till it quit running. It was really nice out in the woods that
time of year, fire goin', bringing in a few buckets with the tractor, and
skimming the pan. They made a nice dark clear syrup too. Mm.
Where was I? Oh. Tree damage. He said it didn't hurt the tree at all,
unless you stuck so many buckets on it that no sap made it to the
branches. They usually did one bucket per tree, and the tree had to be at
least as big around as a phone pole. Only the really big ones got two or
What it DOES do is make a sort of darkish line up the tree above and
below where the tap was, a little thicker at the tap hole, thinning out
both ways from there. It shows up in the lumber. Never saw it myself. His
dad said some folks wouldn't use the lumber but others paid extra for
boards with sap lines in 'em. I think they said the lumber yards paid
less for tapped maples.
I'm not sure if it's an important stage of actual growth, as in adding
more bulk to the trunk. It's critical that the sap get to the branches,
but I think at that point the tree is putting all its energy into getting
new buds out on the brances as fast as it can. I think the growth season
is in the warmer months - but I'm not a botanist. They all said the tree
made more sap if it was tapped to make up for the loss, kinda like the
way a duck will keep laying eggs in the spring if you keep taking 'em
away. I don't know if that's true but the trees they tapped all looked
pretty healthy and about the right size for their age to me.
Does it hurt you to give a pint of blood?
Most important part of the tree's year is budding. The leaves that develop
are what make sugars for next year.
They're called "spiles," by the way. The amount harvested is limited by the
number of spiles per tree.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.