Maple syrup is what we all know and love about this tree but there is SO much more to love.
Especially in fall! Sugar Maples have a flamboyant fall coloring and are often planted in rows along rural roads. They quite often mark an old homestead. Sugar Maple leaves can be orange, yellow or red and if you're lucky, you might see all three colors on one tree.
There are actually lots of types of Maples in the northern parts of the Americas. Black Maples, Ash Maples, Red Maples, Silver Maples....and about 50 additional cultivars developed specifically to thrive in urban areas and as landscape specimens. But Sugar Maples are pretty unique. First of all, they can grow in the understory of a forest, the shady parts. And they grow slowly. This helps them live hundreds of years and become a truly mature forest. Secondly, Sugar Maples require a hard freeze and specific low temperatures to germinate, or start, their seedlings. And thirdly, the Sugar Maple is the only maple that is prized for Maple syrup and that is because they have the highest amount of sugar in their sap for making Maple syrup.
Speaking of Maple syrup, did you know it takes forty gallons of sap to make one gallon of syrup? Forty gallons of sap! The sap is heated into a boil in long pans, generally over a wood fire, and that sap evaporates the water content until only the syrup is left. It can take days to accomplish. A group or grove of Sugar Maples where some one collects sap is called a Sugar Bush and the covered building where the sap is evaporated into syrup is a Sugar House. But that all occurs in February and March.
For now, the Sugar maples are gracing our area with brilliant displays of color and we couldn't be more pleased to enjoy their showy fall foliage.