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Maple Sugaring

Environmental Education Center, 190 Lord Stirling Rd, Basking Ridge, NJ • 908 766-2489

Maple Sugaring
Maple Sugaring
MaSampling the Maple Syrup
The Sap

While faster growing and larger trees are generally better sap producers, the volume of sap increases faster than the tree diameter, and sweetness increases with size. Both volume and sweetness increase as the density, depth, and height of the crown of the tree increases. There is no significant difference in sap produced due to soil type, nor due to the placement of tap holes in different positions (under large branches, over roots, etc.). Tap holes on the south side of the tree will yield the first of the day’s sap run. This is the warmest or “sunniest” side of the tree.

2% - 3% sugars
0.03% organic acids
0.003% protein
0.009% miscellaneous
0.014% ash
97% - 98% water
Collecting the Sap Collecting the Sap

Generally the first and second sap runs produce the best syrup … the lightest color, best flavor, and with little or no sugar sands.
An average of 40 gallons of sap is needed to make one gallon of syrup. This varies to as low as 30 gallons and up to 60 gallons, dependent on such things as the year’s rainfall, the actual length of the sap run, and the total season. Variations in weather result in uncontrollable fluctuations in sap yields year to year and throughout the season.

The first run may begin as early as December, but seldom occurs before Valentine’s Day. This is because of the below freezing temperature at night, and the warm temperatures in the day. The last sap run is generally over by the first week in April. At this time, the buds begin to swell and produce hormones that make the sap bitter.

Please click on the following links for more information on maple sugaring:

Maple Sugaring Home
Boiling Down

Gathering The Sap
History of Maple Sugaring
Is It Syrup Yet?
Maple Activities
Maple Recipes
Sugar Bush
Word Search (pdf file)
Word Search Answer Key (pdf file)
Multiple Choice Questions

E-mail the EEC any questions or comments.