•  Sugarmaker John Riedl, left, of Conesville, N.Y. and friend Al Martel conduct a backyard experiment on red maples vs. sugars.

  •  Sugarmaker John Riedl tested his yard trees in an experiment to see production on his red maples vs. sugars.

Sugarmakers testing for themselves reds vs. sugars

Catskills producer checks his red maples


CONESVILLE, N.Y.—Sugarmakers are giving their reds more respect. A red maple revolution.

Following some breakthrough research from Dr. Abby van den Berg of the University of Vermont Proctor Maple Research Center this winter, showing that red maples produce as much sap as sugar maples with nearly the same sugar content, sugarmakers are testing for themselves.

“I decided to do my own little experiment here,” said John Riedl, a sugarmaker in Conesville, N.Y. in the Catskills region.

Riedl, with wife Cathy, said he did an experiment on a small number of red maple trees located in an open area, and compared them to some sugar maples nearby.

“We have four large hard maples in our front yard and four large soft maples behind our house,” Riedl told The Maple News. 

“I put seven buckets on the hard maples, which were facing south and east, and an equal number on the soft maples, which were also facing south and east.” 

Riedl tapped the trees on Feb.16 and collected sap on them for the first time on Feb.18. 

Here are the results:


         SOFT                                 HARD

         (Gallons collected/Sugar Content)         

2/18  8gal/1.9                          7 gal/1.9

2/22  4gal/1.7                          5 gal/2.0

3/6    2gal/2.9                          2 gal/2.5

3/7    2gal/1.9                          1.5gal/2.2  

3/11  4gal/2.0                           6gal/2.8

3/12  5gal/2.0                           8gal/2.2

3/15  7gal/1.9                           12gal/2.4 

3/16  4.5 gal/1.6                       4.5gal/2.5

3/17  4 gal/2.2                          6gal/2.5


The Proctor Center is expected to release more findings on red maple research later this year.