Maple Sap Rising

There is a little different look in Eliza Howell Park at this time of the year. Some 8 trees have sap collection buckets (or plastic bags) attached.



The trees, of course, are maple trees and the sap is collected (in most cases) to boil down to syrup. Syrup can be made from the sap of different species of maple trees, but the preferred is clearly the Sugar Maple, because of the higher sugar content of Sugar Maple sap.

Even with Sugar Maples trees, however, making maple syrup is not easy. It takes about 40 gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup (or 10 gallons of sap to make 1 quart of syrup). Depending upon the conditions, a little or quite a lot of sap can be collected in one day.


In southeastern Michigan, it is usually early March when the sap starts to flow, the best conditions being nighttime temperatures below freezing and daytime temperatures above – just the kind of weather that we have been having lately. The sap freezes when exposed to freezing temperatures.


Rising sap is a clear indication that maple winter dormancy is over. The process of new growth is beginning. The time to stop “sugaring” is when the temperatures are above freezing overnight or when the buds start to break open. As of now, the buds are not yet opening; they still appear as they did throughout the winter.


I have commented in other posts on Eliza Howell Park edibles like raspberries and hickory nuts. Maple sap is the edible that can be found in March.

2 thoughts on “Maple Sap Rising

  1. When sap is running well it’s surprising. I’ve done it twice. Each time I didn’t get enough to make more than a few teaspoons, but little kids love it and they have no expectations. It’s a great lesson for them.


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