Researchers at the University of Vermont’s Proctor Maple Research Center have discovered that sugar maple saplings produce the same sweet liquid that mature trees yield.
Sugar maple saplings can out-produce mature trees by an order of magnitude. A plantation-style crop of 6,000 saplings can produce 400 gallons of syrup per acre, while a mature sugarbush of 80 mature maple trees produces 40 gallons per acre, researchers say.
Saplings are ready to harvest in seven years, while mature trees take four decades to tap.
Er, yeah, a little free PR advice? Try to avoid using the word “plantation” when referring to a new method of agriculture. How about “orchard” instead? You’re welcome.
Anyhoo, this new breakthrough, they say, could provide “a relatively cheap and easy way to grow a maple operation.”
Yep, I’m picturing that scene from The Matrix where Neo wakes up in the goo-pod and discovers that the entire human race is being harvested for the benefit of the Machine Overlords. (Whoops, Spoiler Alert!) Except instead of people, we’ve got saplings having their precious bodily fluids sucked dry throughout their newly miserable life cycles.
I’m also picturing vast maple planta — sorry, orchards — covering mile after mile of formerly abandoned Vermont farms and newly-clearcut Vermont forests. Kinda like the sheep boom of the early 19th Century all over again.
That’d be a hoot — a core aspect of the Vermont Way Of Life transformed into a landscape-depleting mega-industry. Probably far-fetched, but I wonder how our arch-traditionalists (of all political stripes) would react to the prospect. Somebody notify Annette Smith, stat!