How To Get The Most Out of Your Maple Trees This Season
Well, it’s that sweet time of year again, maple season is upon us! The sap is beginning to flow and the sugar houses and sugar shacks all over New Hampshire are stirring again. Every year between February and March, here in New Hampshire we harvest over 3.5 million gallons of sap from maple trees and produce over 90,000 gallons of maple syrup. This sugary industry is absolutely booming!
Here in New Hampshire, our maple trees are a point of pride. Their sap gives us maple syrup, maple candy, and maple sugar while their bursts of autumn color bring leaf-peepers from all over the country to witness their splendor. With everything these trees do for us, there are a few things that we can do for them as well. Here are a few tips for keeping your maple trees healthy year-round.
Tree Care Tips for Your New Hampshire Maple Trees
Trim and Prune Your Trees
Winter can be tough on our New Hampshire trees. From the moisture-sapping, dry winds to the freezing temperatures and loads of snow, by the time spring rolls around your trees may be looking a little worse for wear. Pruning and trimming your trees is a great way to make sure they’re healthy and ready to grow this spring.
Check for branches that are damaged, dying, or dead and trim them away. This will ensure that all of the nutrients being absorbed will be dedicated to new growth. Early spring is a good time to prune your tree branches. You can direct the growth of your trees to avoid power lines and keep branches away from your home.
Deep Root Fertilization
It’s important to make sure your trees have all of the nutrients they need. This will allow your trees to grow while also giving them protection against insect attacks, tree diseases, and drought. So how do you get your trees the nutrients that they need? Deep-root fertilization is the answer.
Deep root fertilizing is the method of injecting vital nutrients directly to the roots of your trees. These slow-release fertilizers give your maple trees the nutrients they need over a long period of time, keeping your trees healthy and giving them the boost they need for strong growth. The method of injecting the fertilizer down to the root system will also aerate the soil around your tree’s roots, allowing oxygen and moisture to penetrate deep and helping your trees even more. One more benefit is that, with deep root fertilization, you are ensuring your trees won’t have to compete with other plants for these nutrients as they are being sent right to your tree’s root system.
Here at Alliance Landscaping, our 7-Step Tree and Shrub Program will give your maple trees the deep root feeding that they need twice a year. Once in the spring to give your trees the boost they need for strong growth and once in the fall to recover from any summer stress and to give them the nutrients they need to stay healthy throughout the winter months.
Dormant Oil Application
Overwintering pests are a big problem for lawns and trees everywhere. From nutrient-sucking scale insects to mite infestations, our New Hampshire trees face quite a few threats. So how do we protect our maple trees from insect infestations? A great way to start is with dormant oil applications.
Dormant oil is sprayed on the branches and trunks of trees and shrubs in the late winter or early spring before any of the buds begin to swell. The dormant oil spray will coat any of the insects and insect eggs that have overwintered on your tree, cutting off their air supply and suffocating them before they can infest and harm your trees and shrubs. A well-timed dormant oil application will help you get control of your pest problem before it even begins, allowing your trees to stay healthy and grow strong throughout the spring and summer months.
With our 7-Step Tree and Shrub Program, the tree care professionals here at Alliance Landscaping will spray your trees with dormant oil in the spring and fall to help keep your trees and shrubs free of insects.
While deep root fertilization and dormant oil applications in the early spring and late fall will help protect your tree from insect infestations, there is still more you can do to ensure pest-free trees and shrubs. Having your trees and shrubs sprayed throughout the year will help maintain a healthy environment free from pests.
Here in New Hampshire our trees and shrubs have to deal with the likes of gypsy moths, aphids, and so much more throughout the year. At Alliance Landscaping, our 7-Step Tree and Shrub Program will help keep these pests away from your green spaces. We’ll come out and spray your trees and shrubs in the spring, early summer, and late summer to keep your trees and shrubs healthy and pest-free all year long.
Having healthy maple trees means you’ll be able to reap the benefits this sugar season. With the temperature warming up and the sap beginning to flow, here is a DIY way that you can tap your maple trees to get some sweet syrup.
DIY Way to Tap Your Maple Trees
Which Maple Trees Produce the Best Sap?
If you’re ready to dive into the DIY world of producing your own maple syrup or other maple products then it’s almost time to start tapping your trees, but which maple trees should you tap? There are over 100 different types of maple trees in the world and not all of them produce sap that can be made into that delicious maple elixir.
These are the best maple trees to tap:
- Sugar Maple: The best maple tree for tapping, the sugar maple has fall colors ranging from bright yellow to fluorescent orange and its leaves have 5 lobes with no fine teeth.
- Black Maple: This maple tree has darker bark than any of the other maples and its leaves only have 3 lobes.
- Red Maple: Its 3 lobed leaves that turn a deep, fiery red in the fall sets this maple apart from the rest.
- Silver Maple: The silvery underside of these 5 lobed leaves is what gives the silver maple its name.
Once you’ve found the right type of maple you’ll need to make sure it’s mature enough and healthy enough to be tapped. The best indication is the width of the trunk. Your maple tree should be no less than 12 inches wide if you want to tap it. It’s also best to choose a maple tree that gets a lot of sunlight during the day as this will allow the sap inside to flow more freely.
When is the Best Time to Tap a Maple Tree?
Now that you’ve identified your maple trees, it’s time to decide when to tap them. Timing your tree tapping depends on temperature. The sap inside your maple trees won’t start to flow until late winter or early spring. The heaviest flow will be from late February to mid-March.
The sap begins to flow when the days consistently reach temperatures above freezing while the nights dip down below freezing. This temperature change creates pressure, causing the sap to flow.
What Supplies Do You Need to Tap a Maple Tree?
Before you begin tapping your trees, you’ll need to make sure that you have all of the supplies necessary. Not only will you need to gather your supplies, but you will also need to make sure everything is thoroughly cleaned.
Here are the supplies you need to tap your maple trees:
- Drill: Use either a 5/16 or 7/16 drill bit.
- Spile: This is the tap that you put into the drilled hole which will allow the sap to flow out.
- Bucket: Used to collect the sap.
- Lid: This will keep foreign objects from contaminating your collected sap.
- Hook: A hook will be attached to your spile and allow the bucket to hang under it.
- Cheesecloth: Used for filtering out any solid objects when transferring your sap into other containers.
Most of these supplies can be purchased at your local hardware store or at Tapmytrees.com, but remember to clean everything before using them.
How Do You Tap a Maple Tree?
Once all of your supplies are gathered, you’ve identified your ideal maple tree, and the weather is right, then it’s time to actually tap that tree!
Drilling the hole is the first step to tapping your maple tree. It’s best to drill your tap hole at about 3ft up the trunk of the tree. Keep it at a convenient place where you will be able to easily reach it and monitor the flow. Use a 5/16 or 7/16 inch drill bit, depending on the spiles you have. Always drill in an upward direction. This will use gravity to your advantage, allowing for an easy flow of sap.
Once the hole is drilled, insert that spile. Make sure your hook is on the spile as you insert it into the hole you drilled. Tap the spile into place with a hammer, being careful not to hit it too hard. Once the spile is in, and if the sap is running, you’ll see the sap flowing almost immediately.
Hang the bucket from the hook under the spile and get the lid on top of it. There you have it, you’ve tapped a maple tree!
Call the Professionals
If you need a little extra help keeping your New Hampshire maple trees or any of your other trees and shrubs healthy and vibrant, look no further than Alliance Landscaping. Our 7-Step Tree and Shrub Program will keep your trees and shrubs healthy all year long. Protecting them from insect invasions while giving your trees and shrubs the nutrients necessary to maintain their health and beauty throughout the year.