A few years ago we made our own maple syrup. That was on March 9, 2013 (click here to read the story). So with the same date just passed, I knew it was time for the sap to be flowing in our maples.
Yesterday I was in the second floor bathroom and looked out through the maple tree and saw this sapcycle ...
They form where maple branches have broken or been damaged by the winter wind. On warmer days, they're invisible. There's just a slow trickle of clear sap that drips to the ground unseen. But then, when a cold night arrives, the flow continues but it freezes and betrays the spot.
This sapcycle is quite wide so the tiny branch it is connected to much be leaking along its entire length.
Also in the south maple is this smaller sapcycle. It just points out how this would be the perfect time to hang a bucket on the tree and collect the sap for maple syrup.
Finally, last evening as the sun was setting, I walked to the back door and saw this sapcycle on the northernmost maple. This is the tree we made syrup from four years ago. Both trees seem to produce copious amounts of sap. I really should plan ahead and have a tap ready for both trees and hang buckets each spring.
The weather has been perfect for sap flow. The day have been pleasantly warm (03/09 was 66°) and now the nights are cold (the night before these sapcycles formed it dropped to 20°). That wide excursion of temperature is just what the tree needs to begin heavy sap flow.
We have missed a perfect year to make syrup, I'm afraid. But the sapcycles are some consolation that the trees remain ready to produce and they offer further proof that spring is just around the corner.