Cold temps delaying maple sugaring season

SHELBURNE FALLS, Mass. (WWLP) – Some farmers are tapping maple trees in Western Massachusetts. A few Franklin County sugar houses have already produced some early season syrup, but one sugar house hasn’t been able to tap their trees just yet.

This time of winter is ideal for sugarhouses to tap trees, but with a rough winter so far, not everyone has been able to start the process.

Thousands of maple trees on Gould’s Farm in Shelburne Falls are waiting to be tapped. Some are already connected with a tubing system that carries the sap to the sugar house to be boiled down to maple syrup.  But Larry Gould of Gould’s Sugarhouse told 22News they still need a few warm days before they can drill the trees.

“The ideal; we’ll get down to 22, 24 degrees at night, and warm up to 40, 42 or 44 in the daytime. That thaw/ freeze and release, freeze-and-release,” said Gould. “But when it gets down to zero degrees at night, it never really thaws out during the day when the high is only 26 degrees during the day.”

That wide range of temperature-change from day to night allows pressure to build up inside the trees to help release the sap.

The sugaring season lasts about six weeks, one of which is spent setting up the tubing system.  The maple sugaring season is off to a late start in Shelburne Falls.

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