Warm temps leave Maple trees tapped out - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Warm temps leave Maple trees tapped out

RUDOLPH (WAOW) --  "The season is usually a month long. This year, it started early and lasted 10 days," Scott Piltz, co-owner of Maple Hill Syrup said.

Piltz says, in order to produce quality sap they need warm days and cold nights. But, with continued temperatures in the high 70s, the trees are tapped out.

"The sap goes up the tree into the branches during the day and then at night the cold sends the water down and that's how you get sap," Piltz explains.

But quality sap isn't much of an options. The warm temperatures have taken their toll on the sugar content, meaning it takes more sap to make one gallon of syrup.

"It got so warm all the sap ran from the tree immediately and there was no cycling," Piltz says.

So, we took a look at some sugar numbers. Looking at charts, Piltz explained how much sap it takes to make one gallon of syrup based on the sugar content. This year, Piltz says, sugar content averaged around 2%. Which means it would take over 40 gallons of water to produce one gallon of syrup.

Looking at those numbers, Piltz says they felt the hit. The company produced just 120 gallons of syrup. In the past, they have reported more than 400 gallons in one season.

"There will be no profit this year because of the short season," Co-owner Mark Czaikowski said.

"It's Mother Nature. You have to take what she gives you. You can't change the weather, you can't change what happens," Piltz adds.

But it could have been worse. Piltz said they tried to find ways to make the most of the short season. One way, by purchasing a machine that boils the water out of the sap faster.

"With the sugar content being so low we would have been cooking for days just to get one gallon of syrup," Piltz explains. "The machine increased our time."

And it's not just Wisconsin, which is ranked 6th in the country for producing maple syrup, that faced a tough year. Top producing maple syrup states, such as Vermont, have also reported a bad season and low production numbers.

While the season should be beginning, instead it has come to an end. And all there is left to do is clean up and wait for next year.

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