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Business

What is a typical maple rental rate?

In 2019 a northeast maple producer survey found that two most common rental rates were $1.00-$1.24 per tap (43% of renting producers) and $0.50 - $0.99 (37% of producers). Rental rates can and should vary based on regional prices, quality of woods, accessibility and any number of other factors that are important to the tenant or landowner.

Forestry

Last year I planted about 100 2-year old seedling Sugar Maples in a marginal hay field in order to develop a sugar bush. I would like to broadcast fertilize them. What is the recommended fertilizer and application rates?

The Ontario Maple Syrup Producers Association collaborated on the publication A Guide To Maintaining Sugar Bush Health and Productivity, which contains a chapter on establishing maple orchards (pg. 65) that would be a useful read for you. It does not include specific application rates, because results are so dependent on the characteristics of the soil in a given area. Testing the soils will be an important step before determining what amounts to use. In general, sugar maple will respond well to increases in calcium. In forest soils there appears to be a long lasting benefit from applying lime at a rate of around 1 ton per acre. Aside from application of lime, I wouldn’t recommend putting down any other fertilizers without knowing the soil status and if it will actually be needed. What may be more important than fertilizer is using tree tubes and fencing to protect the seedlings from browsing rodents and deer.

I found a bucket of old 7/16” diameter spouts in the barn. Can I use them to tap trees?

The current best practice to promote tree healing and long term sustainable tapping is the use of 5/16” spouts. The older 7/16” spouts are no longer commonly used or recommended.

Legal

I am working on a lease to set up a sugarbush. The forest landowner has suggested a five-year lease. Is this a good idea for a maple sugarbush lease?

Most sugarbush leases should run ~15 years in order to provide sufficient time for the maple operator to pay off the tubing system investment and get the full lifespan out of the tubing system. A shorter lease term like 5-10 years should include some form of investment sharing or payout clause between the forest owner and the maple operator to accommodate for the value of the installed sap collection systems.