• Sycamore – Sap from this tree has a yummy butterscotch flavor. Make sure that the size of your drill bit matches up with the tap, also known as a spile, for a snug fit. If the tree measures 18”-24” two taps can be installed in the tree if the tree has a diameter greater than 24” then 3 taps can be installed in the tree. You want to hit the xylem or sapwood of the tree. Find a maple tree. 2. Each tap will yield 5-15 gallons of sap per season. These are, of course, to capture the sap. Inspect the shaving churned out while drilling the tapping hole. Always clean the tree tapping equipment when you put it away after a season and before tapping during a new season. The sap from maple and most other tappable trees begins to flow when the temperature during the daytime is consistently above freezing, and when evening temperatures still hover at or below 32 degrees. A second tap may be added to trees between 20 and 25 inches in diameter. Hold the drill and drill bit at a slight angle, pointing upwards. If you have an abundance of trees that you can utilize for tapping, you should absolutely try this rewarding experience. It has bark that is dark gray in color. Lightly tap the spile into the hole. If the tree has a big “crown” or lots of full and sturdy branches in its mid-section, it might be a great sap producer. Since the leaves can’t help you identify the species this time of year, you’ll want to get a winter field guide like this one to identify which are maples if you aren’t familiar with the characteristics. How to Tap Trees Drill a hole in a tree, 2 - 4 feet above the ground. Ideally, you will want to put the spile above a big root or below a big branch to get the most sap out of the tree. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Required fields are marked *. You will take your drill and drill to the depth required by your spile, about 2 to 2 1/2″ deep. We are the leading site for home based maple sugaring, the process of sap collection and making maple syrup. Just when the weather starts the warm, but the ground is still snow covered and cold… that’s the perfect time for tapping trees for sap you can boil into syrup. Want to branch out from maple? Why tap a maple tree? The trees, maple and otherwise, that have average to above average sunlight exposure usually produce the most sap. The seedlings growing on them not only resemble the propellers of a helicopter, but “fly” away from the tree and start to grow just about everywhere they land. 5. First off, you can tap many deciduous trees for sap. How to Tap a Maple Tree for Syrup & Sugar Production. You can run it through a cheesecloth or similar to remove any impurities that found their way in. The sugar and syrup produced from this variety is incredibly sweet and delicious. You’ll insert the spile into the loop on the hook and pound it gently into place using a hammer. Each produces a syrup with a slightly different flavor profile. 4. Make sure the tree is on your property! • Sugar – This is the “go to” tree for tapping. We prefer metal. No maple trees on your homestead? Even birch and walnut will provide you with plenty of sweet, flavorful sap that you can boil down. • Black – This maple tree generally offers the highest production of sap each season. • Use tree tapping pouches like the ones in the photo below to keep debris and other impurities away from your sap. Typically, a 7/16 or 5/16 drill bit will work for most spouts and trees. In the spring, the sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum) does something magical. Do not hammer the spile The maximum is 4 taps per tree because you don’t want to stress the tree too much. But, if you didn’t plan in advance, not all hope is lost. • The sap must be stored at a temperature of 38F or colder for best results. Many tappers use a mixture of 1-part bleach (unscented) to 20 parts water to clean their equipment. We are enrolled in the Amazon Associates program, so we may earn a commission if you purchase something from Amazon after clicking one of our links. When to Tap Maple Trees for Sap. Attach the lid to the bucket and spout/spile as indicated by the directions on your specific equipment. Anything under 21″ will only take one tap. You want the temperature to alternate above freezing in the day, and below freezing at night. Tapping Tips. Tapping the trees may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s actually the easiest part of making syrup! This is usually around 3 feet. You can also get pre-made tree sapping kits on Amazon. Copyright © 2020 The Rustic Elk •all rights reserved•. But, the most common trees used are sugar maples. • Spouts – some tappers and stores refer to the spouts as spiles. You’ve got your trees identified, the weather is right, and you’ve gathered your supplies. Drill a level, horizontal 2’’ deep hole at a convenient height. Insert the spout after cleaning out the drilled hole of all shaving. Keep in mind that it takes about 40 gallons of sap to produce one gallon of syrup. Learn how your comment data is processed. Hard maple varieties begin letting loose of their seeds usually in either the late summer or early autumn. plink! Gently tap the spile into the tree with a hammer (do not pound the spile into the tree, as this may cause the wood to split). • Tree tapping is a lot of work. You’ll want to check your buckets daily and empty any collected sap. 1. It is best to distribute the tapping holes around the tree’s circumference when putting in a new season holes or making multiple tapping holes on a large tree for the first time. Now that I live up in Canada’s far north – (Northwest Territories), it’s a good month later – April. Look for a maple tree that is at least 12 inches in diameter and has a lot of direct sunlight. Red and silver maple trees will also provide sap, but not as much as the other two species. The hook on the spout should be facing outward. How to Tap Trees for Syrup. The flow lasts about 5 weeks. • Big Leaf – These maple trees are routinely found growing abundantly from California all the way up to British Columbia. Some days, your buckets might be almost overflowing when you hike out to check them, but other days you might find only a very small amount of sap in the bottom of the bucket or bag. We’re growing our own food, cooking from scratch and taking steps toward self sufficient living on just an acre, and I think you can, too. I’m Danielle. That means you’re going to need some supplies. It’s that time of year again, when the sweet sounds of spring fill Bronte Creek Provincial Park : the twittering of returning songbirds, the laughter of visitors strolling through the woods, and the plink! To make the hole through which sap will flow, you’ll need a drill. The sugar content of the Black Maple tree is approximately two percent. Look for unblemished bark and don’t bore too close to an older tap-hole. • If this is your first time tapping a tree for syrup, do not be startled by the color of the fluid running out of the tree. This variety of maple tree does not produce as much sap as the Sugar Maple, but is often considered just as sweet. • For best results, use or process the sap within one week of collection. Scrub the equipment with a firm brush and rinse, at least two to three times, with very hot water and allow them to air dry fully before storage or use. • English Walnut – If you have purchased walnuts to bake with or simply to munch upon from your local grocery store, they probably came from this variety of tree. The bark on soft maple tree varieties feature bark that can best be described as flaky, and comprised of layers in a lighter shade of gray, usually. The exact time to start and stop tapping trees for maple syrup depends largely on where you live. You’ll want to drill your tap hole on the south-facing side of the tree. Trimming maple trees involves pruning out diseased or broken branches at least 6 inches into healthy wood. For trees 21-27″ in diameter, you’ll use two taps. You can run it through a cheesecloth or similar to remove any impurities that found their way in. • Rocky Mountain Maple – This tree grows in the region which bears its name. How to Tap a Maple Tree A sugar maple is the most popular tree to tap due to the high concentration of sugars. her homesteading skills are unmatched, she raises chickens, goats, horses, a wide variety of vegetables, not to mention she’s an expert is all sorts of homesteading skills such as hide tanning, doll making, tree tapping and many, many more. The sap turned into syrup from this tree is typically deemed just as sweet as the sap created by the Sugar Maple tree – and there is usually about twice as much of it. To make things easier, you can mark that depth on your bit with a piece of tape. The most important step in the process of tapping a tree for maple is finding just the right tree. When the tree being tapped is between 20 to 27 inches in diameter, you may need to use two taps to capture all of the sap. Drill a hole about 1.5 inches into the tree – slightly uphill – so the sap will run down. Most tappers recommend drilling the tapping hole on the southern facing side of the tree, beneath a large branch. Jan 16, 2017 - Explore Heather Clower's board "Tapping maple trees", followed by 161 people on Pinterest. Tap My Trees is the #1 supplier of maple sugaring supplies for the hobbyist. The sweetness of the syrup produced from this tree is comparable to that of a Sugar Maple tree, even though it is churned out in less abundance. Place the tapping hole at least 3 feet from the bottom of the tree. Native American tribes who lived in this region often tapped the Big Leaf Maple tree for syrup and sugar making purposes. If the sap is flowing, you should immediately see sap dripping from the spile. While the syrup is very tasty, the Red Maple tree creates less sap than either the Black or the Sugar Maple tree varieties. If the maple tree measures 8”-18” one tap can be made in the tree. Hard maple tree leaves often appear to boast a “U” shape, and soft maple tree leaves have a shape than looks more like a “V” shape. If the tree has damage, avoid those spots. NECESSARY EQUIPMENT FOR TREE TAPPING. Join The Self Sufficient Life group here. Generally, a single tree can be tapped up to three times before you have to move on to another one. Published: December 26, 2019 • Modified: March 20, 2020 • By: Danielle McCoy • As an amazon affiliate I earn commissions on qualifying purchases. Once you drill your hole, you’ll need to pound your spile into the tree. Black maple (Acer nigrum) Black maples produce as much sweet sap as sugar maples. They make these in metal and even plastic. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) The sugar maple yields the highest volume and concentration of sap, making it a superior candidate for tapping. Sap will flow from this tree only when evening temperatures are firmly below the freezing level for at least one week. 7. Leaves from soft maple trees are usually a light greenish or yellow-green color. The leaves from hard maple trees are usually dark green with smooth points. Drink sap straight from the maple. As a child I experimented with tapping maple trees in Ontario Canada – usually during the first week of March. You could also get a maple tapping starter kit that has all of the specialty things you will need. Never tap a maple tree that is smaller than 10 inches/25 cm in diameter. You’ll be glad you did. The tree needs some of that sap to produce buds and leaves. Spiles are necessary for channeling sap out of the tree and into the bucket Refer to the directions that came with your particular spout or spiles to make sure it is positioned properly. Simply hang your bucket and lid and move on to the next tree. In the fall, you probably ooh and aah at the beautiful red, orange, and yellow shades the leaves from these trees turn each October. It is the combination of the chilly night time temperatures and the warm daytime temperatures that causes the sap to flow both easily and fairly rapidly, from the trees. 3. The goal of Tap My Trees is to promote tapping maple trees by families at … The tell-tale sign that it’s time for tapping is when the daytime temps rise above freezing, but the nighttime temps dip back down below freezing. These trees could be defined as the most generous trees of all, in terms of sap production and sugar release. Any kind of maple tree can be tapped, but the best sap comes from sugar maples, tapped in spring. • Strain the collected sap through the cheesecloth or manufactured filter to remove any debris that might have gotten inside the bucket before putting it in a storage container. The hole drilled should be between 2 to 2.5 inches deep. Use a hammer to lightly tap the spile into the hole. This are your “taps”. The Sycamore sap yield is usually a lot less than nearly every version of maple tree. Whether you have 10 trees or 10,000 the process is basically the same: tap your trees, collect the sap, and boil it down until it’s reduced down to maple syrup. Trees are best tapped when the temperature is warm during the day and cold at night. Are you looking for a group of like-minded people that love the heritage way of life?? Soft maple varieties tend to drop their seeds in either the early days of summer, or the final weeks of spring. For every increase of 2″ in diameter, you can add another tap. Their leaves are either silver or white on the bottom, and boast a more pointy shape than the leaves from hard maple tree varieties. • The amount of sap you get in your buckets in a single day will vary based upon fluctuations in temperature. Your email address will not be published. Typically, this variety of maple tree will have a more watery or thinner sap and a low sugar content. • Big Tooth Maple – This sap producing maple tree grows primarily in the Rocky Mountains region and in Texas. Buckets and lids. Typically the time is around late February to mid-March. The south side of trees generally get the most sun, making them the warmest side, and the side where sap flow will be the best. You’ll want to make sure that your trees are a minimum of 12 inches in diameter (indicating they are mature) and of course, healthy. The size of the drill bit depends on the size of your tap (also known as a spile). I used to tap trees and make maple syrup, lots of fun with plenty of hard work. This will vary wildly depending on the tree, but typically each tree will produce anywhere from 5 to 15 gallons of sap per tap, per season. Generally, if the weather is right, the sap will immediately begin flowing from the tree. Make each cut just above a lateral branch that is at least 1/3 the diameter of the cut stem. The dimensions of the drill bit will depend both on the size of the tree and the spout being used to collect sap. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. 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