It has been too cold for about the last 2 weeks for the sap to flow, or if it did, the flow was very slight. We have had overnight temps in the single digits up to the low twenties, but daytime temperatures have had a hard time getting to 34-35 on the warmer days. The sap lines are frozen and those temperatures are not enough to thaw them.
Today, the forecast finally shows our first over 40 temperature in over 3 weeks, the forecast for next Monday and Tuesday show 41 then 47 on Tuesday. Of course that is always subject to change when 6-7 days out, in fact, even when only 1 day out.
The problem with having maple temperatures run this cold so late in the season, is that the maple season will likely end up shorter.
Of course, my delays because of my health issue set me back too much. Most years lately I have been tapped any where from Jan 20 to as late as Feb 17-18, until this year. This year I finally got my first 175 taps finished on March 7. Since then, between Nor Easter storms I have added another 45 taps. I’ll add another 30-40 before the warmer weather gets here. About 2/3 of the new taps are in red maples which open bud sooner and once that happens they are done, those taps then must be removed from the system.
Last year I removed the taps that were in red maples as their buds opened and I got 3 weeks more on the sugar maples. Usually the extra time is more like 7-14 days between red maples and sugar maples. This year that time difference is likely to be on the shorter side. Right now the flower buds are swelled a lot but there is no green on the tips, The day there is green showing the sap is no longer usable. With the cold lasting this late, and likely til next Monday (six days away) the temperatures are more likely to warm more quickly and that will bring to sugar maples to bud break faster.
For those who don’t know, temperatures in the mid 20’s overnight and in the low to mid 40’s in the daytime are ideal, and if it only freezes every other night, being on vacuum gets the sap to run all night on the nights it does not freeze. That can only work well on vacuum and even then the second night is not as good as the first night and by a 3rd night sap flow is almost done without another freeze.
Here’s to cold nights and warm days.