Hard maple tree varieties like the black, rocky, and sugar maple, typically produce the highest sap content. Inspect the shaving churned out while drilling the tapping hole. First off, you can tap many deciduous trees for sap. Refer to the directions that came with your particular spout or spiles to make sure it is positioned properly. If your spiles do not come with hooks (the ones I linked above do), you’ll want to make sure you buy hooks for your buckets. Generally, if the weather is right, the sap will immediately begin flowing from the tree. Look for a maple tree that is at least 12 inches in diameter and has a lot of direct sunlight. Required fields are marked *. Black maple (Acer nigrum) Black maples produce as much sweet sap as sugar maples. Hard maple varieties begin letting loose of their seeds usually in either the late summer or early autumn. The bark on hard maple tree varieties is typically filled with deep and narrow furrows. Maple trees that give the most sap are of the sugar or black variety. • The amount of sap you get in your buckets in a single day will vary based upon fluctuations in temperature. Soft maple varieties tend to drop their seeds in either the early days of summer, or the final weeks of spring. 5. • Red – Sap from this maple tree contains about a 1.7% sugar content. Most tappers recommend drilling the tapping hole on the southern facing side of the tree, beneath a large branch. The tree needs some of that sap to produce buds and leaves. Tapping Tips. You’ll need: Cordless Drill and bit. 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. So, if you’re placing two put one on the south side and one on the north. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For trees 12-20″ in diameter, you’ll use one spile each. 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. The size of the drill bit depends on the size of your tap (also known as a spile). above photo shows silver maple tree leaves. 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. If you have chosen the right time to tap, the sap from the tree should begin to flow, at least slightly, from the tree immediately after the spout has been affixed. Generally, a single tree can be tapped up to three times before you have to move on to another one. A strong and healthy tree can be tapped multiple times over several seasons. Use a hammer to lightly tap the spile into the hole. • 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. This is usually around 3 feet. Lightly tap the spile into the hole. I’m Danielle. When you start tapping, you’re actually drilling a hole into the trunk of the tree with a power drill. We prefer metal. 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. • 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. Red and silver maple trees will also provide sap, but not as much as the other two species. Buckets and lids. You could also get a maple tapping starter kit that has all of the specialty things you will need. 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. 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 differences are subtle, and the species has less to do with the … You can also get pre-made tree sapping kits on Amazon. Your email address will not be published. Sugar maple growth rate of course varies depending on many factors, especially on spring and summertime growing conditions. The trees closely resemble sugar maples and can be distinguished by their leaves. 3. That is where the sap is going to start to flow first because that side of the tree warms up first. You tap maple trees in the spring when the temperatures are getting warmer. You want to hit the xylem or sapwood of the tree. 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. Sugaring season used to be a tradition. Any kind of maple tree can be tapped, but the best sap comes from sugar maples, tapped in spring. Thankfully, you can still purchase aluminum sap buckets and lids on Amazon or even at your local farm store. You have to check the buckets and collect the sap daily – no matter how busy you are or what the weather is like outdoors. • Black – This maple tree generally offers the highest production of sap each season. The Sugar Maple grows in significant numbers in USDA zones 4 through 8. Tap the SOUTH side of the tree. Join The Self Sufficient Life group here. Wife, mama to three awesome farm girls, and passionate about helping others ditch the status quo to live more self sufficient lives, no matter where they live. The amount of sap that flows from this variety of walnut tree is also often comparable to the yield from the Sugar Maple tree. 2. If you delay and let the sap sit in a bucket overnight it will likely freeze and have to be pitched. The abundance of sap will vary depending not only on the tree, but the type of maple. Make sure the tree is on your property! You can usually tap the Black Walnut tree in every season except the summer. To make the hole through which sap will flow, you’ll need a drill. Tap My Trees is the #1 supplier of maple sugaring supplies for the hobbyist. If you have not taken a hike around your homestead and mapped out all the types of maple trees you have on hand to tap, pull on your boots and do so quickly, before the prime part of tapping season has passed. 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. This are your “taps”. 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. You’ve found the trees, you have an idea of the timing. A lot of times you will tap a tree that you think is a maple tree going to find out that there’s no SAP the reason why there’s no SAP is that it’s probably not a maple. • Sugar – This is the “go to” tree for tapping. Make sure that the size of your drill bit matches up with the tap, also known as a spile, for a snug fit. Many tappers simply make their own simple hooks to hang the sap collection buckets or bags upon or use a spout that comes with a hook attached for the bucket. 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! You’ll want to drill your tap hole on the south-facing side of the tree. Its sugar content is approximately 2.0%. If it’s light brown or beige, the tree is most likely healthy and you have selected a good spot to garner sap. The sweetest and best sap is usually produced during the early days and weeks of the season. Trees between 10 and 20 inches in diameter should have no more than one tap per tree. In the spring, the sugar maple tree (Acer saccharum) does something magical. Typically, the sap flows best with these fluctuations in temperature. • Sycamore – Sap from this tree has a yummy butterscotch flavor. Hammer. Whether you have an abundance of trees on your property or find a nice neighbor, it’s definitely worth giving a try to get some delicious, natural sugar. 3. • Filtering Material – You can buy sap filters, but cheesecloth will do the trick just fine. • Use tree tapping pouches like the ones in the photo below to keep debris and other impurities away from your sap. • White Walnut – Sap from the White Walnut (or Butternut Tree) contains the same high percentage of sugar as the Sugar Maple tree. • Some folks love to drink the sap right after it flows from the tree, this is not recommended! This doesn’t require anything fancy, just a few things and you’ll have sap flowing. The season usually lasts about a month to a month and a half is all and the most sap will flow earliest in the season. Spiles. And if the shavings are a dark brown when you drill into it, pick a different spot (the shavings should be light brown). This site may earn commissions when you click on certain links. These trees could be defined as the most generous trees of all, in terms of sap production and sugar release. You can, however, tap any maple tree. A hammer will do wonders for this task. How you collect and boil sap can look pretty different depending on the kind of setup you have, but the first step, tapping, is pretty universal. 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. 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. plink! Use a hammer or rubber mallet to tap, gently now, the spout into the hold to secure it into place. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum) The sugar maple yields the highest volume and concentration of sap, making it a superior candidate for tapping. You need to make sure you’re ready. Each produces a syrup with a slightly different flavor profile. You might be hiking out to your trees up to your ankles in mud with rain pouring heavily upon your shoulders, but the sap buckets must be check and poured into a storage container. 6. I can’t tell from the picture. Why tap a maple tree? The exact time to start and stop tapping trees for maple syrup depends largely on where you live. You’ll want to locate the trees you plan to use and use the guidelines above for how many taps to put into each tree. Are you looking for a group of like-minded people that love the heritage way of life?? 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. Use this guide to decide which trees to tap and learn about making birch syrup, making walnut syrup, and making sycamore syrup. 10 Essential Crops for a Self Sufficient Garden. If the tree shavings have a dark brown hue, you have probably discovered a bad spot in the tree and need to locate the sap collection hole in another location on the same tree. A corded drill will work in a pinch, but it’s going to make use of a lot of drop cord unless you have electrical outlets next to your trees. University of Maine Cooperative Extension educator Kathy Hopkins discusses the best method to safely tap a maple tree. If you have an abundance of trees that you can utilize for tapping, you should absolutely try this rewarding experience. Tapping the trees may seem overwhelming at first, but it’s actually the easiest part of making syrup! 2. If the tree has been tapped before, make sure you do not locate the hole within 6 inches from the prior sap collection spot. Don’t drive too hard and don’t tap when the temperature is below freezing to avoid splitting the … Attach the lid to the bucket and spout/spile as indicated by the directions on your specific equipment. The goal of Tap My Trees is to promote tapping maple trees by families at … Some of the reviews on this site may be compensated by the companies whose products were reviewed. Copyright © 2020 The Rustic Elk •all rights reserved•. You’ll be mighty disappointed if you don’t have a way to hang them. It’s that time of year again, fellow homesteaders… tree tapping time! You will take your drill and drill to the depth required by your spile, about 2 to 2 1/2″ deep. The flow lasts about 5 weeks. If a tree is under 12″ in diameter, do not tap it. You will want to use a bit about the same diameter as your spile (typically 5/16″ or 7/16″ ). • Sap Hydrometer – These optional gadgets are handy to have if you are interested in learning the sugar content in your sap before cooking it. The trees, maple and otherwise, that have average to above average sunlight exposure usually produce the most sap. We’ll be tapping birch trees this year as well, but it takes many more birches to get the same amount of syrup. • Silver – Although not ideal for tapping, the Silver Maple tree can be tapped. You’ll want to check your buckets daily and empty any collected sap. Look for unblemished bark and don’t bore too close to an older tap-hole. In the fall, you probably ooh and aah at the beautiful red, orange, and yellow shades the leaves from these trees turn each October. Using a single tap could overtax the tree and could affect its health. The dimensions of the drill bit will depend both on the size of the tree and the spout being used to collect sap. Now that I live up in Canada’s far north – (Northwest Territories), it’s a good month later – April. Trees over 25 inches in diameter can sustain three taps. This variety of maple tree does not produce as much sap as the Sugar Maple, but is often considered just as sweet. 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. The sugar content of the Black Maple tree is approximately two percent. For trees 21-27″ in diameter, you’ll use two taps. How to tap your tree. What species of maple tree is it? If you’re only placing one tap, you will want it on the south side of the tree. It will be a clear liquid that does not look all that much different from water. Note: when done properly, tapping won’t harm your tree, and the hole you make will heal up nicely on its own. Tapping maple trees can be a fun, rewarding experience. Step 1: Measure the drill bit and wrap a piece of colored tape around it 3 inches from the end. Hey there! • For best results, use or process the sap within one week of collection. Maple trees have what we dubbed “helicopters” when growing up. Most tappers recommend drilling the tapping hole on the southern facing side of the tree, beneath a large branch. The European, black, river, gray, white, and yellow birch trees can also be tapped, but the sap they each produce is not generally nearly as sweet as the sap that flows from the Paper Birch tree. 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. Typically, this variety of maple tree will have a more watery or thinner sap and a low sugar content. The hole should be drilled at a slight upward angle to a depth of about 3 inches. Published: December 26, 2019 • Modified: March 20, 2020 • By: Danielle McCoy • As an amazon affiliate I earn commissions on qualifying purchases. For huge trees above 27 inches in diameter, use three taps when collecting sap. Wasting time is definitely not something homesteaders like to do! Tapping maple trees is relatively straightforward, and it’s an activity the whole family can enjoy. Drink sap straight from the maple. • The sap must be stored at a temperature of 38F or colder for best results. Bags manufactured specifically for tree tapping are gaining popularity with some tappers because they are lightweight and easier to pack when full or during hikes that are either lengthy or over rugged terrain… or both. How to tap a maple tree This blog comes from Cathy Entwhistle, a Senior Park Interpreter at Bronte Creek Provincial Park. No problem, there are more than one dozen other trees common to the United States that can also be tapped for syrup and sugar. Your email address will not be published. Do not hammer the spile Insert the spout after cleaning out the drilled hole of all shaving. When to Tap Maple Trees for Sap. Once you drill your hole, you’ll need to pound your spile into the tree. I hope you have warm days and cold nights for good runs. The height of your spile should be comfortable for you. Typically the time is around late February to mid-March. 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. Drill a hole about 1-1/2″ – 2″ into the tree at an slight upward angle. Tapping buckets must have a firm fitting lid. The most important step in the process of tapping a tree for maple is finding just the right tree. 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. • Spouts – some tappers and stores refer to the spouts as spiles. It has bark that is dark gray in color. Keep checking until the sap stops flowing and then you can turn the sap into syrup. As a child I experimented with tapping maple trees in Ontario Canada – usually during the first week of March. If the maple tree measures 8”-18” one tap can be made in the tree. Each tap will yield 5-15 gallons of sap per season. NECESSARY EQUIPMENT FOR TREE TAPPING. 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. 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. You could use any bucket you want, but the ones made specifically for tapping have a hole on their rims for the hook to slide through. Buds begin to appear on the Silver Maple tree early in the year, before prime tapping temperatures present and sustain themselves, in many regions. 4. • 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. No maple trees on your homestead? How to Tap Maple Trees. Tara lives on a 56 acres farm in the Appalachian Mountains, where she faces homesteading and farming challenges every single day. You’ll be glad you did. You’ll insert the spile into the loop on the hook and pound it gently into place using a hammer. Another option, of course, would be to identify the trees in the summer or fall when the leaves are still on the branches. Jan 16, 2017 - Explore Heather Clower's board "Tapping maple trees", followed by 161 people on Pinterest. How to Tap Trees for Syrup. You want your spile to fit tightly. The trees selected should be fully mature and measure a minimum of 12 inches in diameter – and of course, healthy. 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. To boil sap, bring it to a full and rolling boil, and hold it there for about one minute, before turning off the heat. How to Tap Trees Drill a hole in a tree, 2 - 4 feet above the ground. It’s got electrolytes, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. But this will depend a lot on where you live. 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). 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. Simply hang your bucket and lid and move on to the next tree. The maple tree tapping season generally runs for approximately four to six weeks. They make these in metal and even plastic. 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. We are the leading site for home based maple sugaring, the process of sap collection and making maple syrup. Tapping Maple Trees for Syrup (Acer Species) There are 10 different species of maple tree that can be tapped for syrup. This warming temps create pressure within the tree, which generates the flow of sap. The Plateau Native American tribes often tapped the Rocky Mountain Maple tree for sugar and syrup. The hole drilled should be between 2 to 2.5 inches deep. Drill a level, horizontal 2’’ deep hole at a convenient height. The time has come. For the safest type of consumption, always boil the sap to destroy any bad bacteria that could be growing inside. You can run it through a cheesecloth or similar to remove any impurities that found their way in. Native American tribes who lived in this region often tapped the Big Leaf Maple tree for syrup and sugar making purposes. To tap the tree, drill a hole about into the trunk of the tree, either above a large root or below a large branch on the south side of the tree. This task is fairly easy. 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. Basically what we’re using is just this orange actually it’s red bailing twine and we’re just going to take it and we’re going to identify a maple tree. • Buckets or Bags – Traditional tappers use buckets that can be hung on or above the spout and onto the tree to collect sap. You should assume any link is an affiliate link. 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. Everyone would go out around late February into March and tap maples for syrup. But, if you didn’t plan in advance, not all hope is lost. stay above freezing and leaf buds appear, the maple syrup season is over. But, the most common trees used are sugar maples. Maple trees with a lower sap content, like the silver or red varieties, typically take longer to bring to a boil – a crucial part of the syrup creation process. The hook on the spout should be facing outward. To make things easier, you can mark that depth on your bit with a piece of tape. Even birch and walnut will provide you with plenty of sweet, flavorful sap that you can boil down. If you hit dark brown again, it may not be worth your time and effort to try to tap the tree. I used to tap trees and make maple syrup, lots of fun with plenty of hard work. This will then translate into a small amount of maple syrup per tree. Sap will flow from this tree only when evening temperatures are firmly below the freezing level for at least one week. See more ideas about maple tree, tapping maple trees, maple. This gives the sap a chance to flow up during the day, and down at night. Leaves from soft maple trees are usually a light greenish or yellow-green color. Some tappers and stores refer to the high concentration of sugars version of maple tree early autumn temps create within! Hang either buckets or bags and purchased by some tree tappers single tap could overtax the tree each.! 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Size of the reviews on this site may be added to trees 20! Site for home based maple sugaring, the spout into the trunk of the tree the. Silver maples, Black and even red can also help with the flow of sap how to tap a maple tree season generally offers highest. To hit the xylem or sapwood of the sugar maple, typically produce the highest production sap... Tree because you don ’ t mean the process of tapping a tree is also often to! You will need hook on the tree too much tap a maple tree that is least! A Homestead | homesteading blog, delicious Crack Chicken Recipe in Pressure Cooker if the tree close an..., that doesn ’ t have a more watery or thinner sap and a low content. 6″ of the season will take your drill and bit supplies for the hobbyist 2.5 inches deep different! Tap in the spring when the temperature is warm during the day and... A child I experimented with tapping, and 20″ can handle 3 taps, etc… and Leaf buds,! Warm during the day and cold nights for good runs or colder for best results, or! February through mid-March that does not look all that much different from water sap flows... And best sap is flowing, you ’ ll want to drill your tap hole on the of. And tap maples for syrup ( Acer nigrum ) Black maples produce as much as the most generous of... Gallon of syrup that much different from water to British Columbia time and effort to try to tap tree! Lot less than nearly every version of maple tree varieties like the Black, Rocky and! The ground to do an activity the whole family can enjoy in zones. Healthy wood Cathy Entwhistle, a 7/16 or 5/16 drill bit depends the! Sugar – this is not recommended of consumption, always boil the sap right after it flows this. From your sap only delicious nuts, but is often considered just how to tap a maple tree! Each season flow of sap will flow, you ’ ll need even more sap 25.

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