Tapping for Maple Syrup
Can I tap other types of Maple trees if I don't have sugar maples?
Yes. The sugar maple contains the highest concentration of sugar, therefore it will always be the #1 option, but other maples that are commonly tapped include the silver, black, and red maple. If you are going to tap a maple tree and it is not a sugar maple, make sure to do a little more research! Budding times and other factors can vary drastically.
Silver Maple Leaf Black Maple Leaf Red Maple Leaf
When to tap?
Late winter or early spring. It all depends on temperature. Sap starts to flow when days are consistently above freezing and nights are below freezing. The drastic temperature changes create a pressure which starts the flow of sap! Heaviest flows are typically late February to mid March. The sap is no longer good once the trees start to bud.
How does the process work?
For every 40 gallons of sap collected, one gallon of maple syrup is made! The process is quite simple. You boil down the sap typically over a wood stove until it reaches 219 degrees Fahrenheit. There are methods that can speed up the process like reverse osmosis systems. This step directly separates the water out of the sap leaving you with higher concentrated sap before boiling. It can reduce boiling time by 60-75%.
Written by Sierra
Azaleas & Rhododendrons: Both Spring Bloomers and look similar, but how are they different?
#1 Pay attention to this trick during the fall and winter months. Azaleas are deciduous, therefore they will drop their leaves in the fall, put out buds, and then get new foliage in the spring. An azalea will have no leaves during the winter months; only buds. Rhododendrons are evergreens so they keep their leaves all year long.
#2 Pay attention to this trick during the Spring. They have different shaped flowers. Azaleas have a tube or funnel shaped flower, whereas rhododendrons flowers are more bell shaped.
#3 Pay attention to this trick during the summer months. Azaleas leaves have appressed hairs almost fuzzy-like. These hairs help protect the leaves when they emerge from their buds in early spring. Rhododendrons have scaly leaves and often have dots underneath.
#4 Another Spring trick! Azaleas only have 5 stamens, whereas rhododendrons can have almost double. Stamens are the male parts of a flower that look like strings or little branches coming out of the center of the flower.
Plant of the Week by Sierra
Nothing announces spring is finally here quite as cheerily as a forsythia. The bright yellow blooms are one of the first things to bloom in the spring when the forsythia becomes covered in small, bell shaped flowers. Though the rest of the year you are left with a simple, green shrub, the spring display makes this one absolutely worth it.
Uses: Forsythia comes in a wide range of sizes from the low, spreading Gold Tide forsythia at only 1-2 feet tall and wide all the way to Beatrix Farrand forsythia which stands at 10 feet tall with blooms up to 2 inches wide. So whatever size space you look to fill, forsythia is a good option!
Fun Fact: Already have a forsythia bush? Want more? To propagate your forsythia, just take a cutting of a stem and set it a good, wet potting soil. Wait a few weeks and it will root and become a new shrub! forsythia will also spread naturally, slowly colonizing an area via the roots.
Hardiness zones: 3-8