|“There is a human and poetic quality in maples, which is easily felt, and though the land would be worth more for its lumber than for its sugar, many farmers would no more part with their maple bush or orchard than with any precious heirloom.”
- Anonymous, “The Green Mountains in Sugar Time,” Harpers, April, 1881
|Sugar Maple Trees|
We’re often asked whether any maple tree of sufficient girth can be tapped for syrup production. The answer is yes….and no.
All maples will yield sap – so will some other hardwoods, for that matter. However, one species of maple, Acer saccharum, known as Sugar Maple, Hard Maple or Rock Maple, accounts for most of the sap used in making maple syrup.
Of the 13 species of maple native to the United States only two other varieties Acer rubrum, or Red Maple and Acer nigrum, or Black Maple are of much consequence in syrup production. Black Maples make their largest contribution in the maple producing regions of the Midwest and Central Appalachians. Until recently Red Maples weren’t tapped because their sap is far less sweet than the sap of the Sugar Maple. Recent developments in reverse osmosis and vacuum technology have made tapping these trees much more feasible for sugarmakers.