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Maintaining Maple Woods

Nature’s beauty is all around us at Grey Dog Maple Farm. Our fields are fertile, the water cold, and our woods are full of life. We spend a lot of time working to improve that beauty by maintaining trails, fields, and the woods themselves. Our work also includes making our Maple trees more productive. The most common way we do that is by selective tree removal.

We have many different types of trees on our property including, White, Red, and Jack pines. We also have Apple trees, both wild and domestic. In addition to those, there are Willows, Ash, and Poplar trees as well. The majority of our woods though are made up of three types of trees. Those are, Elm, Black Cherry, and of course, Maple.

Sunlight is vital to tree health and therefore, sap production. Having too many trees, too close together, creates unnecessary competition for the Maples. In a perfect setting, sunlight should be able to reach the bottom of each of your production trees. If sunlight can reach the bottom of a tree that means that it’s also hitting all of the leaves. By removing non-production trees or even removing low preforming Maple trees, our “good” trees then receive more sunlight which will help increase their production. If your trees are too crowded, you could be missing out on potential sap not being made.

We try not to waste anything. Luckily, most of the trees we remove are Black Cherry or Ash. Both of these make excellent firewood and end up being the bulk of what we use to burn in our evaporator to make syrup. Any leftover firewood is used for our campfires all a summer long. If we remove trees that don’t burn well, we use those to improve wildlife habitat. We’re lucky enough to have rabbit, grouse and woodcock here, all of which rely heavily on the brush piles we make for protection from predators. I’ve even come across deer and turkey hiding out behind a brush pile.

After removing the Black Cherry tree that was in the first picture of this blog, you can see the difference that one tree makes to this line of red maples. Now with proper spacing and no competing trees, this run will be able to reach its maximum potential. This one tree also provided a lot of firewood that will help us make Swamp Sugar this spring. Our woods are far from perfect and we have a long ways to go. We’re glad you’re here with us though, each step of the way.

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