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Other things being equal, higher sap sugar content translates to lower costs of production and greater profits (World Book Encyclopedia 1992).
Black and sugar maples start their growth later in the spring than red or silver maple. As maples begin their growth, chemical changes take place in the sap which makes it inappropriate for syrup production. The term "buddy sap" is often employed to late season sap which produces syrup with a very disagreeable flavor and odor. Because sugar and black maple resume growth later than red or silver maple, sap may be collected later in the spring.
Japanese maple, a. palmatum, is also a well-liked ornamental tree. It has about 80 strains varying from shrubs to trees. They rarely grow more than 6 meters high. Japanese maples have leaves that are deeply divided into five to nine narrow, toothed lobes. They have light leaves which are delicate shades of red and green in the spring. In the autumn the leaves develop beautiful purple-red hues. These maple trees also have tendencies to produce leaves early in the spring and are susceptible to frost damage in northern climates. (World Book Encyclopedia 1992)
Another appealing Asian maple is the paperbark maple. It grows to about 12 meters high. The leaves are dark green on top and bluish-green underneath. The paperbark maple is native to China. One of the most famous European maples is the Norway maple, a. platanoides. It is known by the opposite paired arrangements of its leaves and branches, its 7-lobed leaf without marginal teeth, and its 11/2 to 2-inch long samara with opposing wings. (http://www.massmaple.org/treeID.html) the sap of Norway maple is not commonly used to produce maple syrup. Its green leaves turn pale yellow in autumn. The hedge maple is the only maple native to the United Kingdom. It can grow up to 15 meters high. Its leaves have three to five lobes and become yellow in autumn. The hedge maple has been cultivated for many years.
Maple trees are commonly divided into two clusters: the hard maples, such as sugar maples and black maple, and the soft maples, such as the silver maple, red maples, and box elder. Soft maples grow more hastily than hard maples, but are brittle and often break in lofty airstreams and in ice storms. Because of this, the stronger and longer-lived hard maples are preferable as shade trees. Maple wood is used predominantly for lumber, distilled products, veneer, crossties, and pulpwood. Most of the lumber is utilized for flooring, furniture, crates and interior finishing. Maple wood could also be used for the manufacture of acetic acid and alcohol.
The maple tree is well-known for two features, its helicopter seeds which descend to the ground spinning like the blades of a helicopter, and the syrup or sugar which is made from its sap. The helicopters are in fact the fruit of the maple tree. They have two small seeds at the center, joined together by a very delicate linkage, and two thin, paper-like wings, one on each side. When they are full-grown, these fruits frequently break apart and float to the earth with the wing spinning round and round like the blades on a helicopters.
Maple syrup is one of the most famous economically important contributions of the maple tree. While most maples have sweet sap, the sugar, also known as rock or hard maple, produces, by far, the best sap for maple syrup and sugar. The sap of the sugar maple has higher concentrations of sugar than the other members of the maple family, and produces better flavored, lighter syrup. The process of maple syrup production entails several steps and considerations. The weather condition is an important factor. For the maple sap to run, the nights must be cold, below freezing. Night temperatures should ideally be in the mid-20's. If the temperature falls to far below freezing, the sap will take to long to warm up the next morning, and this will not be a desirable process. If the temperature is too high, above freezing, the sap won't run the next day. Daytime temperatures are as equally relevant. The temperatures during the day should be in the mid-40's. If the temperature doesn't rise above freezing or if it is too high, the sap will not run.
Temperature is not the sole part of the weather that plays an active role in the success or failure of a maple season. If the temperatures are ideal, but the sky is always overcast, there will be a much slower run, producing much less sap. Just as your skin feels much warmer with the sun beating ion it, so does the maple tree. This added warmth draws the sap out of the ground and up past the tap holes where it is collected. The depth of the snow on the ground during the season is also an issue. Snow acts as a layer of insulation on the ground. If there is a deep layer of snow on top of the frozen ground during maple season, the snow will help lengthen the season by keeping the ground frozen for a longer period. This frozen ground facilitates to decelerate the development of the tree's leaf buds, and delay the "buddiness" of the sap. This "buddy" flavor makes the sap not viable. (http://www.massmaple.org/treeID.html)
Still, there is no simple resolute regulation for predicting the quality of a maple season. Snowfall is not the only pre-season weather that has an effect on maple sap flow. Such factors as rainfall, amount of sunshine and even temperatures for the past year, could altogether make a difference. The more rain and snow that fell during the previous year, the more water is available to the tree. While this doesn't vary greatly from year to year, a dry summer will lower the water tables and reduce sap flow the subsequent spring.
Sunshine and temperatures during the preceding summer take part in determining the magnitude of sugar the tree could produce and accumulate in its roots (http://www.massmaple.org/treeID.html).If the summer was very cool or very cloudy, any of the two extremes, the tree would not be able to generate as much sugar. The lower levels of sugar may have no effect on the amount of sap which is brought together, but the sap will cause a reduce in the sugar concentration, which means less syrup from the same quantity of sap.
Since maple trees are located only in certain areas of the world, the demand for maple products is high. More often than not, maple products are imported into countries not suitable for maple tree growth. This causes profit for the producing or importing countries and high costs for the exporting countries. Since the United States, a large country, could produce a large amount of maple products, the world market price could be based on their production. The production of the small countries on the other hand would have very little or no effect at all on the world market price. The maple syrup is also a complement of food, particularly pancakes. In places where rice is not the main staple, the demand for maple syrup could be higher. The lumber provided by maple trees could however be negligible because other types of lumber, probably stronger and cheaper, could be provided by other countries.
A project conducted by the Environmental Sciences Division in Oak Ridge National Laboratory studied effects of temperature adjustments in sugar maple trees. The objective was to assess short- and long-term homeostatic temperature adjustments in sugar maple, involving physiological modifications to genetic demarcation in populations from across the allocation range. The study entailed compilation of sugar maple seeds from the three locations, Rhinelander Wisconsin, Batavia Illinois, and Oak Ridge Tennessee. The results showed that physiological acclimation to warmer temperatures was a bigger factor in these sugar maples than were population-level adaptations to temperature, probably because of a high degree of gene flow among populations. Marginal populations presented more within-region variability than did the central population, signifying that these populations may have the genetic diversity needed for adaptation to climatic adjustment. (Gunderson, Norby and Wiggins 1995)
The breeding of sugar maple trees start with long strands of yellow-green sugar maple flowers produced early in the spring, prior to leaf buds opening. Trees begin reproducing at about 50 years of age, with older trees bearing great quantities of seed annually. Bud development in the spring begins in late-April to early-May, and normally full leaf-out has occurred by early June. Monitoring of spring bud development can offer a different gauge of tree health, and is a process that can be changed when the maple trees are under stress. The presence and abundance of insects feeding on maple leaves recedes and flows according to normal population sequences. Insect and disease outbreaks depend on weather conditions that increase or frighten the organisms, and also the health of trees themselves. Stressed trees are often deficient of chemical means to fight off insects and diseases.…[continue]
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