Answers to the sugarmaker quiz- check out the quiz first!
Below are the answers to our Sugarmaker Quiz blog post. If you want to take the quiz, go to the original blog post by clicking here: Once you've decided on your answers, scroll down to see what we came up with.
Tree #1 is NOT a maple. This is a yellow birch. Notice how the bark looks as if it is almost curling into rolls of paper If it were a white ("paper") birch tree these sections would be larger and even more prominent (and the color would be an even brighter white). We're told you can tap birch trees to produce syrup, but we're busy enough with the maples.
Tree #2 is a "hard" (sugar) maple. This is the traditional tree for producing maple syrup. Notice how the bark (particularly at the bottom of the picture) is in long vertical strips. If you were fooled by the top of the picture this is because there was some damage to the bark, especially in the upper left hand corner. However, the rest of this tree looks healthy and should produce maple syrup for years to come.
Tree # 3 is a white ash tree. Don't tap this, although if you did you wouldn't be the first sugarmaker to get confused, as these can look very similar to a hard maple, particularly if you're in a grove of soft maples and come across this tree (I'm speaking from experience). Notice how the bark is just "tighter" to the tree than the maple bark, and the grooves between the pieces of the bark are deeper.
Tree #4 is a "soft" (red) maple. This tree is also just fine to tap. The sugar content of the sap is a little weaker, but some sugarmakers believe that having a mix of soft maples in your woods produces a better maple flavor (we would agree, since we have a nice mix of soft maples in our woods and are proud of our maple flavor). Notice that the strips of bark are wider and looser from the tree than on the hard maple above.
Tree #5 is a soft maple. We hope you got this one right, since it has a healing tap hole at the bottom of the picture. For your reference, this tap hole is from a 7/16" bucket spout and is about 2 and a half years old.
Tree #6 is a cherry tree. Notice that the bark looks a little redder than the other trees. Also, I always think it has a slightly "scaly" look to it with the overlapping triangular sections of bark.