Chaos and unpredictability are apparently the new normal in the maple woods. Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice, well…you know the rest. The past 2 sap seasons and current year’s production continues to highlight a new normal of early spikes in warm temperatures and the importance of being ready and willing to tap earlier than traditionally expected. Producers wed to a historical norm will likely pay hefty cost this year. Honestly, given the next few days of warm temperatures, we’re not sure our sap season will even make it to March 1st.
Our red x silver maples are starting to bloom and will likely be at or near full bloom by this weekend. Though the buds on our sugar maples are still tight, the growing degree days (GDDs) are accumulating fast and tapholes are starting to dry up. Hopefully those slowing tapholes are a combination effect of not just the warm temperatures but also the dry winter we have experienced. I am not seeing much hope to erase the warm temperatures, but we are supposed to get drenched with a couple inches of rain tomorrow – that should help.
Here’s a photo I took this morning of the muddiest spot in our entire woods. It is now bone dry and the used-to-be-mud is starting to crack and split.
The next week or two will tell the season’s tale – will we achieve an average season total, come up short again (maybe that’s the new normal?), or be surprised by a late spurt to make the year memorable in a positive way? Only time will tell.