Friday, March 13, 2009

Find #191 -- Sap flow

Seen on the way back from GC1J0VQ Twin Cottonwood Colonel's Offset on March 5. The sap is flowing. The warm days and cold nights of the past few weeks (but definitely not this week!) work to pump the sap up and down the tree. In the early days of this pumping, the sugar in the roots and bottom of the tree are carried in high concentration to the limbs. The sugar is converted to starch later in the season. Sap collected at this time gives "woody" tasting syrup. We had some when we tapped my in-laws tree. Ick.

Wet streaks running down the trees were a common sight when I took this photo. You can also see that this particular branch has a "buddy" directly opposite -- maples and box elders have this pattern. You can tap both for sap.

Iowa is on the southwestern edge of maple syrup country. It is not an industry here as it is in other states. I have heard that Cedar Rapids, Kossuth County, and Cedar Falls all have Maple Syrup Festivals. I also heard of one in Warren County, but haven't found info on it. We attended a group maple tapping class years ago near Cedar Rapids and loved it. We find group classes easy to schedule and more focused and educational than public festivals. Ours was given by the staff of Indian Creek Nature Center.

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