How to tap a maple tree for maple syrup

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How to tap a maple tree for maple syrup

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A key step in the process of making maple syrup is tapping trees. You need to know the right trees to tap, when, and how.


Step One

Identify the trees. Choose trees at least eight inches thick, that are thriving and have few dead branches. Sugar maples work best, but red and silver maples work as well. Sugar maples have a higher concentration of sugar and require less boiling to obtain syrup.


Step Two

Once you have found your trees, decide how many taps to put. One tap for eight inches, two taps for sixteen inches, three for twenty inches and four for twenty-four inches. If the tree is larger than twenty-four inches thick, it is okay to put five or six taps on. The diameter (width) of the tree can be found by measuring around the trunk and dividing by three.


Step Three

Drill your taps. A 7/16 drill works best. I drill my taps about 1-2" inches,(deeper sometimes to compensate for bark). Hammer your tap in and make sure to leave some hanging out so when the season is over, you can pull the tap out! On warm days when the sap is running, you will know you have drilled deep enough when the sap starts to run out of the tap. And just so you know, taps do not hurt the tree.


Step Four

Tap from February 14th (Valentine's Day) until the sap gets too bitter (around the end of March, usually). On some days the sap may not run at all, but don't worry, it will eventually.


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