Pesticides in maple sap

Asked March 6, 2020, 8:45 AM EST

We have been tapping sugar maples on a property that backs up to an industrial corn and soybean farm. Is it possible and or likely that pesticides used on the farm are absorbed by the tree and found in the sap? We are concerned that if there are trace amounts of harmful chemicals such as glyphosate in the sap, we will be concentrating them during the sugaring process. Thank you for any information you can share regarding this concern.

Livingston County Michigan

1 Response

This is a tough question to answer for our office. First, you may not even know what chemicals were actually used on the adjoining property. Also, the majority of the chemicals that were used may not have even moved from the industrial site to your property. Remember, growers do not want to waste money by spraying too much chemical on their crops, potentially damaging their own crops. Second, our office does not have expertise on how various chemicals would be absorbed into trees and then possibly affect the sap.

One place where you could get some technical information about some chemicals is the National Pesticide Information Center. They have toxicologists on staff who may be able to better help answer your questions--if you know what chemicals might be coming onto your sugar maples. Here is their information on glyphosate:

NPIC's contact information is:
Call: 1-800-858-7378 from 8:00AM to 12:00PM Pacific Time, Mon-Fri