The weather has been harsh on sugar bushes in Ontario over the past two weeks. From high wind to ice storm – buds, twigs, branches and anchoring roots have been tested for their strength and resilience. Fortunately, this time of year the trees are rehydrating, which makes them a little more flexible compared to their drier condition during winter. No serious damage is reported from wind or ice in most areas, with some clearing and repair of vacuum tubing required. Continue reading
In earliest regions of southwestern Ontario, the maple syrup production season will draw to a close soon. Unseasonably cold weather has helped to slow bud development and prolong sap flow over the previous two weeks, however the increasing day length and intensity of the sun has warmed branches and buds. Buds on maple trees are swelling and elongating and bud break will soon occur. Prince Edward County reported buddy off-flavours have begun on April 4th and sap harvest has ended there for the season.
Early areas, commercial producers who use modern vacuum collection for sap harvest are reporting very good yields of high quality syrup this year. A few producers exceeded the provincial average of 1.1 litres syrup per tap. Continue reading
Maple syrup production for the past two weeks
The 2018 maple syrup season has been progressing steadily forward in southern regions of the province over the past two weeks. From southwestern Ontario over to Ottawa and the eastern counties, sap flow and maple syrup processing has been very active with only a few stalls due to cold weather.
In the north, very cold nighttime temperatures have persisted to deeply freeze the trees and then hover below or near zero Celsius during the day to keep trees frozen. Excellent sap flow conditions are forecast for the north. Northern regions typically start several weeks after the earliest areas and 2018 is still considered a normal season for northern producers. Continue reading
The 2018 maple syrup season is underway across much of southern Ontario, while northern producers are prepared and ready for sap harvest. Syrup producers in the south have had several good sap runs during the end of February and have been boiling again during the first week of March. Continue reading
The extended weather forecast predicts that thawing temperatures and sap flow conditions will continue for a few more days in many regions of the province, including northern regions. Completion of tapping in sugar bushes will be a top priority for producers to harvest early sap flows.
Freezing night-time temperatures and thawing daytime temperatures, for example -5 ⁰C night and +5 ⁰C day, occurring consecutively over several days will provide ideal sap flow conditions.
Colder winter-like conditions are expected to return after this thawing trend to hopefully slow sap harvest and allow producers to catch up on preparation. Continue reading
The 2018 maple syrup season is approaching, as the days become longer and winter will soon begin its transition to spring. Modern maple sap harvest is based on weather patterns that predict when a sequence of daytime thawing and night time freezing conditions will become more frequent. The transition period from winter to spring is the maple syrup season. Few commercial producers base their sap harvest on a traditional calendar date, as was practiced historically.
In the sugar bush, main lines and lateral lines can be cleared of fallen branches. Wire trellis and vacuum tubing can be tightened to remove sags as much as possible. Tight tubing and secure leak-free connections will prevent sap pooling between sap flow events. Continue reading
Do you have a water contingency plan?
In 2016, many areas of the province saw very warm and dry conditions, creating challenges for sugar bush health, and for horticulture and field crop producers. Many wells were still dry leading into the winter. In other years, like the start of the 2017 growing season, the province experienced periods of excessive rain, leading to saturated soils and flooding.
No one can control the weather, but we can plan for it. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) encourages you to plan for future weather – conserving water and using it efficiently can help during low water conditions, and having effective drainage systems in place can help with saturated soils and runoff. Continue reading