The sugar maple (Acer saccharum) was designated the state tree of Wisconsin in 1949. The designation of the tree has helped grow the economy of Wisconsin in several areas. Sometimes called hard maple, the sugar maple is one of the largest and more important of the hardwoods. Sap from the trunks of sugar maples (and sometimes red maple trees) is used to make maple syrup. Sugar maple trees seldom flower until they are at least 22 years old, but they can also live 300 to 400 years.
Sugar maple tree trunks are tapped early in the spring to collect their sap. It is a fairly simple process. You drill a small hole an inch and a half into the trunk of the tree, insert a spout and place a bucket or bag under it to catch the sap. The sap is boiled into syrup, or concentrated further with evaporation to produce maple sugar. Thirty four gallons of sap are required to produce 1 gallon of maple syrup (or 8 pounds of maple sugar).
Many products can be made from the whole tree: fine furniture, cabinets, flooring, sports courts and guitars. According to the Sweetwater Company, the maple is especially good for electric guitars because its normal flat sound is "a blessing in disguise" when the guitar is played loudly!
One of the largest impacts the sugar maple tree has for Wisconsin is Tourism. Every fall thousands of people tour the forests and woodlands of Wisconsin to view the spectacular leaves of sugar maple trees turning their brilliant colors of red and gold.
To celebrate the heritage of our State Tree, the Sugar Maple, the Taylor County Lions Clubs have developed the Maple Festival. This is an annual event held the last Saturday of April in conjunction with the Pine Line Marathon in Medford, Wisconsin. Taylor County is the heart of sugar maple country with dozens of "sugar shacks" that produce a large portion of the states maple syrup.
Come celebrate the heritage of our state tree at the Taylor County Lions Maple Festival!