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Sugar bush refers to a forest stand which is utilized for maple syrup. The tree canopy is dominated by sugar maple or black maple. Other tree species, if present, form only a small fraction of the total tree cover. In the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia, and in some New England states, many sugar bushes have a sugar shack where maple syrup can be bought or sampled.
The maples are tapped for their maple sap in early spring, whenever the weather has warmed so that day-time temperatures are above freezing — 0 °C (32 °F) — while night-time temperatures remain below freezing. Typically there will be snow cover on the ground during the tapping period. The tapping period ends when the supply of maple sap ceases, as when night-time temperatures begin to be above freezing, or when the tree produces metabolites to facilitate tree bud development (which will give syrup an off flavor)--whichever comes first. After the tapping period, some maple sugar bushes experience a profusion of spring wildflowers which take advantage of unobstructed sunlight before the maple leaves emerge. In summer, a healthy maple sugar bush is luxuriant and shady. Autumn leaves are colorful, especially on the sugar maples.
- "Historic pictures of the sugar bush at the University of Vermont's Maple Research Center", published February 10, 2010, University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections.
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