Q. What kind of maple tree is this? Can I tap it and make maple syrup?
Paul from Canfield
A. The sample Paul brought in was a red maple.
Red maples have red leaf stems.
These stems are really red in the summer but fade in the fall.
The best time to identify the tree would be earlier in the summer.
Red maple is a tree that prefers moist to wet soils.
This does not mean its roots want to sit in water, though.
It prefers acid soils and often fails (or is disappointing) in the landscape when it is planted in clay soils with a high pH.
It is a native Ohio tree.
There is a complete description of the red maple from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at go.osu.edu/redmaple.
Yes, you can tap red maple.
It is one of the top three maple trees that are usually tapped for syrup production.
The experts say sugar maple, black maple and red maple will provide the most commercial sap of all maple species.
Maple syrup season runs from late winter through early spring.
The syrup comes from boiling down the sap collected to get the concentrated maple syrup you enjoy on everything from pancakes to ice cream.
If you want to correctly identify your maple tree in anticipation of trying for some syrup from the sap, visit http://maplesyrup.osu.edu for a maple ID chart from our maple syrup experts at Ohio State. Click on “Maple Tree ID” on the left.
This maple syrup site has a review of the syrup-making process and everything you may want to know about maple syrup.
Eric Barrett is the Ohio State University Extension educator for agriculture and natural resources in Mahoning County. Call the office hotline at 330-533-5538 from 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays to submit your questions.