LCSWCD sugar maple tour April 15 at Mast farm

The Ernest Mast family will host free tours of a local sugar bush on Saturday, April 15, at 9 a.m. at 170 S. 300E, LaGrange.

The tours promote the La­Grange County Soil and Water Conservation District’s annu­al tree sale, demonstrating the quality of a sugar maple forest. Rolls and coffee will be served. Guests are encouraged to dress for the weather and wear boots for walking in the woods. Reg­istration is requested at 260-463-3166, ext. 3, by April 13.

The program is designed to provide information to those interested in developing a sugar operation of their own. The Mast family produced around 1,000 gallons of syrup this year, and it will be available for sale at the program.

“For a time, it looked like conditions in January and Feb­ruary would not cooperate to provide the weather necessary to produce this wonderful, nat­ural sweetener this year, but predictions didn’t hold out, and the season turned out good after all,” said Martin Franke, director of the LaGrange County Soil and Water Conservation District.

The LaGrange County SWCD holds events in conjunc­tion with the annual district tree sale to promote the planting of various kinds of trees and shrubs. Trees help purify water, improve soil health, prevent ero­sion, and clean the air.

One of the most popular spe­cies the district has sold over the years has been the sugar (hard) maple, said Franke.

“This is a good tree for this area, being native to Northern Indiana, and growing well in a forest environment in partial or even full shade,” he said. “Besides accomplishing the environmental benefits already mentioned, sugar maples also provide sugar and syrup, and can be excellent landscape lawn trees as well. The timber from sugar maples is used to produce excellent, high-quality furni­ture.”

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