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Test your Sugarmaker Skills

We thought for this blog it would be fun to let you have a glimpse into one of the challenges we face as sugarmakers.  The challenge is making sure you're tapping all of the maple trees, but none of the other trees.  Although it would be possible to cut every tree that isn't a maple, we don't think this is ideal because such a "mono-culture" would be more susceptible to disease and pests, so our woods contains a mix of maple trees and other hardwoods.

The fact is, recognizing a maple tree is really easy during the summer- just look for the iconic maple leaf. When you're tapping trees in the late winter and early spring there are no leaves.  The best time to set up tubing (for us at least) is in the fall, after the frost has killed the bugs and the bare trees make it easy to see the lay of the land.

So, a crucial skill for any sugarmaker is identifying the maple trees from the bark.  Below are 6 trees that we took pictures of in our woods.  Which ones would you tap? (We put a "gimme" in there in case you need a hint).  If it helps, we didn't take pictures of any evergreen trees (the needles are a dead giveaway that we shouldn't tap that tree) and our woods are located in northern NY state in climate zone 2.

I'll put the answers up in a week or so... Enjoy!Tree 1

Tree 2

Tree 3

Tree 4Tree 5

Tree 6


  • 2, 4, 5 maybe I hav eno clue, just guessing. 1 looks like birch

  • I would tap trees 2,4,5 😊

    Lois Hillegas
  • I chose #2, 4, and 5.

    Lena Martin

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