Wood of the Month
Tapped Vermont Maple
Tap holes make beautiful patterns in the wood. Here's why!
Why does a Maple Tree create these beautiful patterns? According to an article titled "Woods Why's: How Do Trees Heal Wounds on Trunks and Branches", trees cannot go back and repair damaged cells like humans & animals. Instead, they isolate the wound (tap hole) and grow around it:
"Trees close wounds in two separate processes that create both chemical and physical boundaries around the damaged cells. First, they produce what is sometimes called a reaction zone, altering the chemistry of the existing wood surrounding a wound and making it inhospitable to decay organisms. Then, they build a barrier zone to compartmentalize the injured tissue with new tissue called “callus” or “wound wood” growing outward. If all goes according to plan, the callus growth covers and seals the wound and allows new uncontaminated wood to grow over and beyond it."
As you can see, this tree was tapped multiple times during its lifespan. Many of these holes appear to be very close to each other, and that may actually be the case! Research is being conducted through UVM to study the long term effects of not tapping, but also the size & number of taps used each year, as well as the various methods used to extract the sap from the trees.
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