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Stephen Saupe, Biology


Tree sap can be collected from a variety of species in Minnesota, including sugar maple (Acer saccharum), box elder (Acer negundo), red maple (Acer rubrum), paper birch (Betula papyrifera), and ironwood (Ostrya virginiana). The sap of different species contain varying concentrations of sugar, important for determining the amount of sap needed to boil down into a volume of syrup. In general, previous literature has shown that sugar maples have the highest concentration of sugar, followed by red maple, birch, and box elder. The sugar concentration of ironwood is as of yet unknown. The purpose of this study was to confirm the concentration of sugar in the sap of these five tree species and record the variation in sugar concentration over the tapping season (generally from early March to late April). Two trees of each species were tapped with 5/16 spiles starting on March 21 using standard procedures and the sap collected daily. The volume was measured and the sugar concentration measured using a digital refractometer. Results will be presented.

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