We are often asked whether any maple tree of size (10 inches in diameter at 4.5 feet from the ground) can be tapped for syrup production. The answer is yes …. And no.
All maples will yield sap, so will other hardwoods, for that matter. However, Sugar maple (sometimes called hard maple) produces sap that has the highest sugar content.
Another popular maple that is tapped is red maple (sometimes called soft maple). On Butternut Mountain we are blessed with a high concentration of sugar maples. Our sap frequently tests at 2.5% sugar for over half of the season. It is not uncommon for red maple sap to test about 0.5% lower. Sap sweetness can change throughout the season. The length and intensity of a freeze or a warm up can change the level. Two years ago, our first two runs averaged about 1.25% sweet. Why? Only mother nature knows for sure and she is hesitant to give up all of her secrets.