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Environment & Energy

The Early Warm Weather has Cut Into This Season's Maple Syrup Yield in Northeast Ohio

The maple syrup cabin on Burton's town square in Geauga County where the produce is part of the town's identity

This year’s early spring has put a slight dent in Northeast Ohio’s overall maple syrup yield. But for producers who tapped their trees early, it has been a good season.

In Geauga County, where much of the state’s maple syrup is produced, Ohio State University Extension agent Les Ober says this season can be broken into two different stories. For producers who predicted earlier warm weather and tapped in the beginning of January, they got big yields of sap that made high quality syrup. But then there were the others.

“The producers that traditionally wait until after President’s Day to tap, it was a pretty miserable year. ... The 24th day of February we had 77 degrees in Cleveland; we set records all over the place for high temperatures. Buds started to swell, and when buds pop on trees the season is over.”

Ober predicts Geauga County will produce slightly less than its average of 26,000 gallons.  He says there has been tapping in January three out of the last five years in Northeast Ohio, which he calls unheard of, but he hesitates to say there is a permanent pattern developing.