Letter: Maple sap is a gift
Yamile Craven questions the consequences of “stealing” sap from maple trees (Monitor letter, April 4). As a longtime maple producer and author of the history book, Maple Sugaring in New Hampshire, I can assure her that “stealing” sap from maple trees does no harm unless the trees are over-tapped. If too many holes are drilled each year, a tree may succumb early, but most maple producers know the consequence and don’t do it.
The scientists at the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center have tested vacuum systems on their maple trees for many years and have found no detrimental effects. Collecting a few gallons of sap from a large tree is less harmful than an adult donating a pint of blood once a year. The tree quickly recovers the lost sap, just as we rebuild our blood supply. There are some maple trees in the state that have been tapped every year since George Washington was president, and they are enormous, healthy trees today. Tapping a maple tree conservatively does no harm. The sap is a gift, just as fruit from an apple tree is a gift.