Spring is officially here, but the warmer weather isn’t exactly good news for the maple syrup season in New England. Daytime highs have been right around normal if not above normal for this time of year. However, it’s the overnight lows that haven’t cooled down as much. This hurts maple syrup production because the maple trees thrive when highs are in the 40’s during the day with lows falling into the 20’s at night.
Region shaded green indicates sugar maple forests. Image: land-of-snow.com
The maple syrup season typically runs from late February into early April in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. This year, temperatures didn’t get as cold during the overnight hours and that has stunted sugaring season in some places. When the nights stay warm, the sap doesn’t return to the roots, which ends the cycle and closes the tapping window. Both February and March temperatures have been slightly above average across New England. El Niño seems to be to blame once again for the warmer temperatures.
Surface temperature analysis for Monday, March 29 at 6 a.m. CDT. Image: ImpactWeather
In 2009, the nation’s syrup producers churned out 2.3 million gallons. Vermont was the biggest producer of maple syrup with 920,000 gallons. This year, some parts of New England have reported a shortened season because of the warmer weather. However, until the crop can be accurately measured, the full impact the warmer weather has had on it won’t be known.