Maple sap finally flowing well in St. Lawrence County
Tuesday, April 1, 2014 - 5:34 pm

By CRAIG FREILICH

DEKALB -- Yesterday seems to have been the best day so far for maple sap runs and collection by makers of the distinctive syrup and sweets.

“Yesterday was a pretty good day,” said Jeff Jenness who with his wife Lori McAdam-Jenness and their kids run the Orebed Sugar Shack in DeKalb.

“It finally broke and started to run like it should,” he said.

While the Jennesses run a fairly large operation with trees hooked up with tubing, a small mapler in Potsdam had a good day yesterday, saying he had to make two trips to empty his buckets.

“It was the best day so far, and today looks like a good day too, if the wind doesn’t blow,” Jenness say.

He said that in addition to factors like a below freezing night and a good sunny and warmer day, the wind can play a role, too.

He explained that the carbon dioxide the trees use in photosynthesis creates pressure in the tree.

“The sun heats up the little bubbles, but when the wind blows it breaks up the bubbles and the sap won’t flow,” he said.

He said on a good day when the branches in the crown get heated up after a freezing night, the bubbles, which had collapsed in the cold the night before creating as much as 10 inches of vacuum, will expand and then create 25 to 40 pounds of pressure in the tree.

He shared a little folklore, too.

“Traditionally, when Easter’s late, we run late. I don’t know why, but that’s how it seems to work out.”