The Taps Are In!

by Peter 2/18/2013 7:20:00 AM

Approximately 1000 taps were installed this past weekend as we anticipate warmer temperatures in the next couple of weeks.  The temperature while we were working was chilly, sometimes in the single digits, but there was little wind and the sun was shining, so it was surprisingly enjoyable to be outdoors.  The first thing that we do when we tap the trees is identify the old tap holes from previous seasons.  If the tree is healthy, the old wound will completely heal within one year.  I was a bit worried about what we would find because of the drought last summer, but was pleased to find only about 1% of the trees showed significant signs of stress.  We left those trees untapped and will examine them next year.  The holes were drilled using a 5/16" bit to bore into the tree about 1.5".  This is quite a small hole, about the diameter of a pencil.  We drill the holes a couple inches above or below the previous tap holes and to the left or right about 6 inches.  This gives us fresh wood to draw sap from.  On Friday afternoon we saw a little sap coming out of a few of the holes on the south side of several trees.  This was surprising because the air temperature was well below the freezing point, but proof that the intensity of the sun is getting stronger--the trees were able to absorb the sunlight and warm up because of the dark colored bark.  We are optimistic that we will have a better season this year.  There is about 8" of snow in the woods and the forecast looks promising for some more this week.  The snowpack helps to regulate the spring temperatures, prolonging the season, as well as provide the trees with some needed moisture.