Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Plants, Soils, and Climate

Committee Chair(s)

Youping Sun


Youping Sun


Kelly Kopp


Michael Farrell


Darren McAvoy


Steven Price


Maple syrup is an agricultural product produced from the sap exuded by maple trees. All maples can produce sap, and in Utah, the maples include the two native species bigtooth maple (Acer grandidentatum) and boxelder (Acer negundo), and the introduced species Norway maple (Acer platanoides). Little is known about the sap production of these species, and this research aims to examine the volume of sap yield and sugar content of these maples, evaluate the performance of bucket and tubing collection systems, and explore the potential economics of a maple industry in the state. Research on boxelder and Norway maple sap yield and sugar content were conducted in 2022 and 2023 using bucket collection system in three locations spread throughout Cache Valley, UT. Sap yield and sugar content were collected. Bigtooth maple sap yield and sugar content were studied in 2023 and 2024 in Woodland Hills, UT, using tubing systems. Total sap yield and sugar content were measured.

It takes about 35 gallons of sap from boxelder and Norway maple trees to produce a single gallon of syrup, while only about 32 gallons are needed from bigtooth maple based on the sugar content of the sap. In comparison, sugar maple sap takes anywhere from 43 to 28 gallons. A single boxelder tree produces about 1.5 pints (~2.5 lbs) of syrup per tree every year, Norway maple produces about 0.5 pints (~0.8 lbs) per tree, and bigtooth produces about 1 pint (~1.7 lbs) per tree. In general, it is easier to find larger boxelder trees than bigtooth maple trees, and larger trees usually produce more. The tapping holes were healed within 6 months after tapping, with 93% of boxelder holes and 100% of Norway maple holes were completely healed. Boxelder and Norway maple trees are the best species for hobby production, as they are found throughout the towns and cities of Utah. Bigtooth maples are the ideal species for larger production due to their large numbers in the state, especially concentrated in Northern Utah along the Wasatch Mountain Range, particularly in Cache, Weber, Utah, and Box Elder counties, growing on mountain slopes.