We have jumped full on into maple sugaring season here in New Hampshire. Three years ago, we began tapping some of the maples on our property as an experiment. Our previous property had very few maples, and the ones we did have were only saplings. We began with approximately 30+ maples that we were easily able to identify on the property in winter. In the two years since, we have identified over 100 different maple trees and currently have over 88 taps online. "Go big or go home" is my husbands motto....or "If its worth doing, it's worth over doing"! Our system is all gravity fed to 20 different collection locations with either 1 gallon water jugs or 5 gallon buckets on the end of the tubing or individual tap.
After reviewing research from Dr. Tim Wilmot of UVM Extension, we decided to experiment and place on of our collection lines on 3/16" tubing as opposed to the industry standard 5/16" tubing. Now, one would think that the 1/8' difference in internal diameter of the tubing wouldn't make a difference on the gravity system. I have to say my skepticism is gone! We converted one line of 7 trees onto the 3/16" tubing and within a half hour we were pulling a vacuum on the line just based on the weight of the sap that now filled the tubing/. Science is amazing.
We converted a second line over yesterday and the volume of sap we are collecting has increased, at least by 50% if not more! We have several micro-climates around the property and often we record temperatures 5-10 degrees colder than the Weather Underground Station 2 miles away on Klondike Corner. This makes our sap collection extremely temperature dependent, but I am finding with the smaller tubing we are collecting when the air temperature immediately reaches the mid 30's whereas the larger tubing our sugar bush needs minimum of 40 degrees on the weather station to produce because of the small micro-climates we have. I really need to spend some time focused on building a local weather station.
You can check out all the information on our sugarbush and operation, access real time data here! I've even included some lesson plans that you can use our data with.