Hot Weather Affects Maple Sugar Season

Maple sugar bucket hanging on a tree (photo from Wikimedia Commons)
Bucket collecting maple sap to make maple syrup (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

28 February 2024

The month of March is traditionally the best month for tapping maples to collect sap for maple syrup. The sap runs best with daytime temperatures above freezing and nights below freezing. When the days are too hot the sap becomes bitter. When the nights don’t freeze the sap stops running and the season is over.

This winter we’ve had yo-yo weather in the Northeast and Great Lakes states. You can see it in the forecast highs this week from Tuesday 27 Feb through Sat 2 March. The cold front coming through today will result in two nights below freezing. Then temperatures will rise again into the 60s. You can see the new blob of hot weather approaching from the Great Plains on Saturday 2 March.

Maple sugar farmers have had to adjust by starting the season whenever the sap runs — in Pennsylvania that might mean January — and pausing the season when the temperature goes up too high in hopes it will drop again.

This news article from Minnesota shows what their maple farmers are dealing with.

video embedded from KSPT5 Eyewitness News

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