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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi. New here. Unsure where to post this. Kind of an end-around story to a situation...

I’m going to start maple sap harvesting this coming 2022 season. Walked the property marking all the maples I could find this past Spring/Summer.
Spoke with someone who mentioned he was in the process of ‘clearing his canopy’ of trees crowding maples on his property.
After speaking with him, I took another look up at the canopy around my maples and noted where some seemed shaded or ‘crowded’ by other trees. In most cases, I found Wild Cherry trees were shading or blocking sun from up and coming maples.
At first, I was thinking of cutting them down this winter for next year’s firewood (I’d read they make decent firewood).
But because I keep several bee hives I thought maybe these Wild Cherry trees had some early spring forage value to the bees.
These wild cherry are quite tall and that high up I’ve not been able see whether the bees are ever on blooms up there.

I suppose it’s a matter of value ratios... I’m leaning toward cutting them down: Benefit: more sun on maples + heat for next couple years.
Or let them bee 😉: Benefit: early bee foraging + added honey harvest.
The unknown variable is not knowing if bees even take to Wild Cherry trees at all.

Would like to know others opinions on this. Thanks.
 

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Maples is a seriously long term commitment. I tap maples on my land. Though in my area, I see a lot of huge maples that nobody taps. Most people just don't care to do it. A person could clear a parcel of land and plant maples, but odds are that the person doing it will not live long enough to see the day when those maples are finally big enough to be tapped. That will go to some future generation, and you can not guarantee the future land owner will care about tapping maples.

Cherries do blossom and they do feed honeybees. I think the overall blossom season is fairly brief, maybe two weeks long. Have you been harvesting the cherries? I would consider pruning the cherry trees and harvesting them. At least that is something you can do to gain benefit now. See if the cherries are sweet or tart, and decide if you want to graft them.
 

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Hi. New here. Unsure where to post this. Kind of an end-around story to a situation...

I’m going to start maple sap harvesting this coming 2022 season. Walked the property marking all the maples I could find this past Spring/Summer.
Spoke with someone who mentioned he was in the process of ‘clearing his canopy’ of trees crowding maples on his property.
After speaking with him, I took another look up at the canopy around my maples and noted where some seemed shaded or ‘crowded’ by other trees. In most cases, I found Wild Cherry trees were shading or blocking sun from up and coming maples.
At first, I was thinking of cutting them down this winter for next year’s firewood (I’d read they make decent firewood).
But because I keep several bee hives I thought maybe these Wild Cherry trees had some early spring forage value to the bees.
These wild cherry are quite tall and that high up I’ve not been able see whether the bees are ever on blooms up there.

I suppose it’s a matter of value ratios... I’m leaning toward cutting them down: Benefit: more sun on maples + heat for next couple years.
Or let them bee 😉: Benefit: early bee foraging + added honey harvest.
The unknown variable is not knowing if bees even take to Wild Cherry trees at all.

Would like to know others opinions on this. Thanks.
Wild Cherrys really good for making Cherry Jelly. Also big Cherry trees make beautiful lumber. Cherry lumber sales for a good price. So does Maple lumber.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Maples is a seriously long term commitment. I tap maples on my land. Though in my area, I see a lot of huge maples that nobody taps. Most people just don't care to do it. A person could clear a parcel of land and plant maples, but odds are that the person doing it will not live long enough to see the day when those maples are finally big enough to be tapped. That will go to some future generation, and you can not guarantee the future land owner will care about tapping maples.

Cherries do blossom and they do feed honeybees. I think the overall blossom season is fairly brief, maybe two weeks long. Have you been harvesting the cherries? I would consider pruning the cherry trees and harvesting them. At least that is something you can do to gain benefit now. See if the cherries are sweet or tart, and decide if you want to graft them.
Hi ET1 SS. Thanks for the feedback.
No doubt you’re right about the generational aspect of maples and sap harvesting. It seems that baton has unknowingly been handed to me. Bought this property 12 years ago. It was in rough shape. Took us nearly 5 years just to tame it back to where is was safe to walk about on it.
Bought it from the widow of the man who built this great house himself. Over the years I’ve been discovering his genius in not only the great house he built, but his land management plans. The widow explained what she was aware of, but the strange maple aspect was never mentioned.

It was just by walking around I realized I’m the only property for miles around which has the density of maples to even begin to think about harvesting the sap. On 30 acres I’ve got 130 maples mature enough to tap. Most of those are concentrated in what seems to be an intentional thick zone of them.
Don’t know the fella’s age when he died, but I’d estimate half of these trees may have been planted by him while the others look to be much older than he could‘ve planted.

Once I counted all the maples, I realized I just about owe it to whomever concentrated all these to try and tap them. Been studying for a few years now. Been to a few places to help on the tapping and harvesting just to see if it was something I could do myself. Last year took the plunge and bought myself a proper evaporator and filtration system, plus all the assorted tapping and gathering equipment. Pretty excited to give a go next year.

As for the pruning of the wild cherry, well, they’re tall. Really tall. I’d estimate most are at over 20 feet. Can’t even see most of their leaves or fruit through the canopy. It did occur to me to cut them down and if any shoots came up around their stumps to allow them to grow out and bush up. I’m thinking the value ratio between cutting them down or leaving them alone is about even.

I’ll see how I feel about it toward the end of January. If I’m going to cut them down, I’ll want to do it well before tapping days. Thanks again for your kind input.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Wild Cherrys really good for making Cherry Jelly. Also big Cherry trees make beautiful lumber. Cherry lumber sales for a good price. So does Maple lumber.
Thanks 101pigs for the feedback.
Lumbering the cherry did cross my mind as well. Something I’m keeping as an option.

We’re all jellied up here. We grow blueberries, blackberries and raspberries as well as peach, apple and pears. Though I’ve heard wild cherry jelly is something special.

Your username, 101pigs, have anything to with what you raise? Been studying on pigs as well as a homestead source of meat. I’m being steered toward Idaho Pasture pigs at the moment.
 

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There used to be an old couple that sold their own maple syrup at the Black Walnut Festival in Camden, Ohio. They were tapping trees planted by the previous owner who never had a chance to tap them. They were worried about the future of their operation since the kids thought syrup production was too much work. They were not at this years festival.
 

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What is the diameter of your cherry trees? 20 feet is still a young tree, probably not much useful wood for lumber but they would be good firewood.

I think I would thin some of the smaller maples and cherry trees. Leave the big ones unless they are closer than 50 feet apart. At 50 feet distance the canopy would get good sun exposure for several years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
What is the diameter of your cherry trees? 20 feet is still a young tree, probably not much useful wood for lumber but they would be good firewood.

I think I would thin some of the smaller maples and cherry trees. Leave the big ones unless they are closer than 50 feet apart. At 50 feet distance the canopy would get good sun exposure for several years.
Yup. The cherries are tall and lanky, not particularly thick around. Maybe a foot diameter, some under, some a little over. Twenty feet was just me recalling, they’re probably taller than that. At any rate, the only ones I’d cut would be those taller than the maples, again just in an attempt to open some sky to the maples.

And yes, they’re all pretty tight in that one particular zone mentioned above. Less that 50 feet for sure. So, you’re probably right about thinning things out in there anyway.

Kind of a sad story about the elderly couple missing from the festival. I bet that story is happening over and over everywhere. Although, I think a lot of young ‘metro’ couples are beginning to wake up to the upside of rural life.

I, myself, was a city mouse for most of my life. I was dealt a very fortunate set of cards when I came across this land I’m now working. Working toward a small, humble homestead. Loving every drip of sweat, every scratch of brambles along the way.
 

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Maples aren't pioneer trees so they have evolved to do well in shade. Monocultures aren't usually a good thing so I would leave the cherries. My brother makes syrup and still boils it with hardwood. Best of luck to you!
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I couldn’t resist. The first post reminded me of this-

Totally forgot about Rush‘s song. Funny.

Funny irony is I’m commenting on the value of the wild cherries, but there are hickory and OAKs which are sprinkled throughout the same areas as these maples. I didn’t consider cutting any of the hickory or oaks down as they’ve got more obvious benefits to me. Hickory nuts and oaks‘ superior wood strenght for future lumber needs, like drum sticks. ;)


Maples aren't pioneer trees so they have evolved to do well in shade. Monocultures aren't usually a good thing so I would leave the cherries. My brother makes syrup and still boils it with hardwood. Best of luck to you!
That’s what I bought, wood fired evaporator. Doubled up on my firewood this year just to be sure to have enough for the sugaring.
 
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