Record warmth may hurt maple syrup season

Sibley State Park Naturalist Dick Clayton gathers maple sap in this file photo from a couple of years ago.

SPICER — It’s fast approaching maple syrup making time, but this burst of record-breaking warmth may make the season a short one.
Dick Clayton, park naturalist at Sibley State Park, is preparing to his host annual programs on collecting maple sap and making syrup. He has programs scheduled for March 24 and 31 at the park.
Asked about this year’s prospects, Clayton expressed concerns about the early and unprecedented warm up we are experiencing. The sap in maple trees runs best when the days warm up but temperatures drop below freezing at night.
The daily warm up starts moving the sap, but the night-time freeze halts it and allows pressure to build for the day, he explained.
A sudden warm up can cause the sap to run fast. If the trees also bud early, the sap may still run but it will not be good for maple syrup.
It’s too early to know how things will go, but it is not too early to call the park and reserve a spot in one of maple syrup programs he will be offering. The park office can be reached at 320-354-2055.
– Tom Cherveny