HOW TO TAP A MAPLE TREE ( 6 Easy Steps)

Maple trees are deciduous woody plants rich in essential amino acids and sugars. These amino acids are in the maple sap present in the vascular system of the plant. Maple syrup and sugars are suitable for seasoning since the 15th century. Tapping is a method for the extraction of sap from the stem. If you have maple trees in your garden, but you don’t know how to tap them, this article is for you. We will tell you How To Tap A Maple Tree. 

HOW TO TAP A MAPLE TREE

It is better to tap maple trees in February and March. In these months, these trees are rich in sap. Maple sap on extraction is a fluid with a neutral taste. We boil this fluid to make it thick and concentrated. The concentrated form is sweat and used in salads and pancakes. There are many types of maple trees like sugar maple, red maple, silver maple, birch, etc. They named these trees after their products. 

1.DENTIFY THE RIGHT TREE:

Just like other plants, maple trees also produce these products at the right age. It also depends on the temperature and pressure in the environment. Black maple and sugar maple trees are suitable because of their high sugar content. You should identify the mature trees with a circumference of over 12 inches. For taller trees, you can also use multiple taps. For example, for a tree over 24 inches in diameter, use two valves and for over 36 inches, use three taps.

2.IDENTIFY THE RIGHT TIME:

Tap the tree during the right time and season. The best season is when the temperature rises above 0 degrees Celsius. Make sure the environment is not too airy or hot. If you tap the maple syrup too early or too late, it will be slightly bitter. The perfect maple syrup is tasteless or slightly sweet. 

3.RIGHT AMOUNT OF SAP:

The amount of sap a tap can give you varies with temperature and humidity. Under favorable conditions, a tree can produce from five to fifteen gallons of sap. They then boiled this sap to secure syrup. The amount of syrup depends upon the number of taps your trees can have. The sugar content of different trees also varies. An average maple tree has 3-4 percent of sugar content. Therefore, to obtain 1-gallon maple syrup, we require 5-10 gallons of sap from tapping. 

4.GRAB YOUR TOOLKIT: 

It is a perfect winter vacation activity for your family. All you need is a small spile and a drill. Make sure the spile is not over 5-6cm long. This depth is perfect for the collection of sap from a tree stem.  

5.START WORKING:

There are three basic steps for the collection of sap from the maple tree.

The first step of the procedure is drilling the hole. Drilling a hole is probably the toughest part of the plan. The size and shape of the drill pin depend on your spile shape. Take a battery-driven drill machine. This machine will be easier to carry and use around the woods. Drill a 4-5 cm deep hole in the maple’s tree stem. You can make two or three holes at equal lengths if the tree has a wider stem. Choose a drilling pin with a diameter slightly smaller than your tap. This smaller hole will help the tap attach to the stem. Mark the drill bit up to 2 inches to get a perfect length of the hole. 

The second step for the collection of the sap is attaching the spile with the stem. Clear the hole and cut any bark or wood stuck in it. Take the spile and insert it into the hole with a rotatory motion. This motion will help it penetrate deeper. However, position the collecting end of the spile downward. Don’t hammer the spile because you need to remove it and reuse it in the next season.

The third step is hanging the collection bucket with the tree. For this purpose, you can use any bucket, either metallic or plastic. Place this bucket 3-4 inches below the spiles. You should remove the sap from the bucket every day. A warm and humid environment can cause rancidity in the syrup. Collect the maple sap from these buckets daily and refrigerate it. You can also boil it and use fresh maple syrup for the seasoning of salads and pancakes.  30-40 liters of maple sap will give 1-2 liters of maple syrup on boiling. 

Now it’s time for the last step of the procedure. Remove the spiles before you leave your farm after the collection. If you leave behind the spiles inside the stem, this will attract insects and other invaders. It is harmful to the plant and reduces the syrup quality for the later collection.

6.MAKING THE SYRUP:

Collect this raw sap in a large pan or a container. Use a cloth or a sieve to remove unwanted particles from the syrup. Now, place this clean filtered sap in a saucepan. Heat it at a high flame and allow it to boil. Boil the syrup until it achieves the right consistency and color. It should look slightly darker than honey. You can taste it and cook until you get the perfect sugary taste. You can add vanilla or lavender essence for aroma. Let this syrup cool down and save it in a container. You can use it the whole year but keep it refrigerated.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: 

Why my maple trees are not producing sap?

There can be many reasons for this problem. Maple trees are sensitive to the temperature and humidity of the surrounding environment. They do not release sap if the weather is too cold or too hot. Another major factor is the right age of the tree. If the tree is not mature, it will not produce syrup. The third major cause can be the insect or fungal infestation in the roots. If the trees at your farm are of the right age and have the right environment, make sure you use insecticides and fungicides for them.

What trees other than maple are appropriate for sap collection?

You can tap many trees for sap collection. These trees commonly include various types of maple and birch trees. Other trees have walnut trees, alder trees, butternut trees, sycamore trees, Lindon trees, ironwood trees, hickory trees, palm trees, elm trees, and to some extent, the red oak tree. However, all these trees have less sugar and amino acid content than the maple trees.

What should be the age of the maple tree for tapping?

The time to tap a maple tree depends on the diameter of the stem. The stem diameter should be over 12 inches or 25 cm at the time of your first tap. If you tap an immature plant, it will affect plant growth. The taste of the sap from an immature plant is slightly bitter. It has low sugar contents as compared to a mature tree.

At what time should I remove the tap from the maple tree? Should I remove them daily?

No, you don’t need to remove the taps daily. You can leave them if you want to continue tapping the tree. However, stop tapping the sap when the temperature of the surrounding is high. This sap will not be of the same quality. Usually, the plant sap collected at high temperatures has a bitter taste. But make sure you remove the tap after the last collection of the season.

I forgot to remove the taps at the end of the season. Will it damage the plant? 

The maple trees have vessels in the stem. When you drill a hole to insert the tap, you cause those vessels to break and release the sap. When you remove the valve after the end-of-season collection, this allows the plant to repair itself. If you leave the tap inside the stem, this hole will keep leaking for many weeks. The plant will eventually seal and repair the hole. However, this unnecessary leaking and tap will delay the repairing process.

Should I plug the holes after tapping or leave them open?

You can opt for any of these methods. Both methods prevent the unnecessary loss of sap from the plant. Many people plug the holes and reuse them in the next season. This method helps you save drilling time. However, if you remove the plug, this will give the plant the time to heal and grow.

CONCLUSION:

Collecting the maple syrup is the most fun adventure of winter vacation. You can do it alone in your leisure time. Going out to your farms and collecting maple syrup with family is even more fun. The best use of this syrup is with the breakfast on soft pancakes. You can do the job using this simple guide.

We understand your sugary cravings in the breakfast. A slight sweet tooth in the morning surely doesn’t hurt anyone. Make sure this season forget your dieting schedule and enjoy the sweetness of the maple syrup. You can take it from the farm of your neighbor but ask them first. So, grab your buckets and fix the taps in your trees to have fun.

Leave a Comment