For those looking for a sweet, maple sugar fix, they may have a wait a bit longer than they have in previous years.
Cold winter temperatures are affecting the maple trees this year and sap is not running yet in northeastern Ontario, reported Doug Thompson, who is with Thompson’s Maple Products on St. Joseph’s Island, near Sault Ste. Marie.
Thompson said sap usually starts running around March 21 but, so far, nothing has started to run.
“We have lots of snow [and] Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are all froze over with four or five feet of ice. So the temperature, I think, won’t warm up too fast.”
But he’s not concerned about a late-starting season, he added.
Looking at the long range forecast, Thompson said he’s hoping sap will start to run early next week.
Thompson said the late start doesn’t necessarily impact the entire season.
There have been previous years where sap hasn’t started running until the first week of April, and Thompson said those late starts usually yielded a decent year.
He said he already has his taps out, ready for the sap whenever it starts to run.
The ideal temperatures for sap to run are between 5 C and 6 C during the day, and -4 C at night.
“If it’s going to run day and night, you’ve got to make sure you catch every drop of sap you can,” he said. “It’s all based on Mother Nature. When she tells you it’s going to run, it’s going to run.”
He said a typical season runs between four and six weeks.
Thompson said warmer spring weather can shorten the tapping season.
“If it gets really, really hot it does,” he said. “If you [start] getting temperatures [like] we had two years ago, we were just about done at this time.”