Learn how to tap maple trees with Blain’s Farm & Fleet.
It’s been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but sometimes we get busy as we rush through the beginning of our day. However, no one can say no to a breakfast of fluffy pancakes or french toast with real maple syrup. While most people just get their maple syrup from the grocery store you can make your own maple syrup straight from the maple trees in your own backyard. In our previous post we wrote about the different type of maple trees that can be tapped. In this article we’ll show you how to tap maple trees.
When to Tap
The time of the year to start tapping maple trees is from the end of January to the end of February, depending on the region. Right when the temperature drops below freezing 32°F / 0º C at night and stays above freezing during the daytime. Tapping a tree too early can cause the tap hole to dry out from microorganisms growing in the tissue of the tree.
How to Tap Maple Trees
When you start tapping, you’re actually drilling a hole into the trunk of the tree with a power drill. Make sure that the size of your drill bit matches up with the tap, also known as a spile, for a snug fit. Drill a hole about 1-1/2″ – 2″ into the tree at an slight upward angle. You want to hit the xylem or sapwood of the tree. Then hammer your spile into the hole, hang your bucket and you’re ready to collect the sap.
Collecting the Sap
Once the spile is added to the tap hole, maple sap will begin to flow. Maple sap is clear and resembles water. Sap flows when the day temperature is above freezing so depending on the weather, you may not get sap on colder days. On warmer days you can get as much as a quart to a gallon or more of sap. The seasonal average of sap collected can be six to ten gallons.
Once the sap has been collected it is best to keep it cold and stored at a temperature of 38° F or colder for up to seven days. It needs to be boiled to eliminate any bacterial growth. With that sap, you can make your own homemade maple syrup.
Now that you know what to do, it’s easy and fun for the entire family. So get out there and start tapping today!