Sugar Maples and Hydraulic Lift

Taken May 7 – the maples have fully leafed out since then.

Never, ever take sugar maples for granted. Not only do they provide us with a sweet and tasty breakfast condiment, they perform a very cool function called hydraulic lift.

All plants take up water through their roots and evaporate it through their leaves. Sugar maples (along with some other plants) take it a step further. During the day, their roots draw water up from deep underground; at night, when water isn’t evaporating from the leaves, the excess is released into soil near the surface. Sugar maples essentially irrigate the soil around their bases. To read more about this phenomenon, check out this article from Cornell.

Are these Canada Mayflowers taking advantage of natural irrigation?

So if you like wildflowers, next time you see a sugar maple… tell it thank you.

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