Preparations for spring have already begun: equipment is being serviced, the shop is being reorganized, vines are being cut, and fence rows are being removed. Although winter is an ideal time for pressing cold feet against a hot wood stove, it is the one time of year a land manger gains an advantage over the landscape. Once plants emerge from the doldrums of winter we must exert ourselves outright to keep pace with the flurry of life.
This winter, I will take advantage of the approaching spring by collecting maple sap for sugaring. As I collect sap from the invasive Norway maple (Acer platanoides) I will effectively reduce the vitality of the trees and hopefully decrease their competitive advantage. This will allow native trees like the sugar maple (Acer saccharum) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum) time to grow without pressure from the Norway maples. And if I can collect sap in sufficient quantities to make maple syrup, I will enjoy the sweetness of spring year-round.