Warmer temperatures affect maple syrup season

Warmer temperatures affect maple syrup season

Maple syrup season came early this year with above-average temperatures.

Experts said warm days and cool nights are good for the production of syrup, but without that perfect mix the weather could affect production this year.

“What the tree is doing is pulling the food up from the ground. The warm temperatures signal to the tree that all the food it stored over the winter in its roots needs to come up to help the leaves grow,” said Mike Strigel, executive director of Aldo Leopold Nature Center.

Production season usually starts toward the end of March. The mix of temperatures has moved production season up by several weeks, ahead of Aldo Leopold Nature Center’s Maple Syrup Fest at the end of the month. The festival focuses on showing production of maple syrup.

“It’s the relationship with the land, that’s what feeds us, that’s what sustains us. So, it’s really our belief that we have to help children and families see that connection and understand it,” Strigel said.

The sun won’t affect the festival, but if the mild weather continues, those who rely on production could be disappointed.

“That’s what tends to make the season less effective. The syrup isn’t quite as good. If we never get below freezing, then I think maple syrup will be a much different prospect,” Strigel said.

Up north in Appleton, warmer temps could mean a shorter season this year.

“Once those trees start to bud out and those buds pop and they start leafing, all the sap stays up in the top of the trees and so therefore, we don’t get that flow and it stops our maple syrup season,” said Courtney Osenroth, a naturalist in Appleton.

Strigel hopes the weather’s hot and cold nature will level out in the end.

“Since we had some pretty cold stretches in January and February that has kind of sparked what we think will be a good year in Southern Wisconsin,” Strigel said.

The nature center said it will have plenty of syrup for Maple Syrup Fest March 26.