Suburban Maple Syrup, Collecting the Sap

You can supply your families need for pure Maple Syrup from just a few Maple trees in your yard or that you have access to. If you have never had pure Maple syrup before you will be in for a real treat. I’ll walk you through all of the steps to produce your own Maple Syrup and it is so good!

  1. Select a tree to tap. Any maple tree will work. Soft maples work very well in the urban/suburban environment. The sugar or hard maples have a higher sugar content that the soft maples. Most of us know the soft maples by their size, they are usually quite large so you can get multiple taps per tree. A large mature urban tree can have 4 taps in it that will produce a minimum of 1 gallon of sap per day. A good rule of thumb is to tap a tree until it is at least 12″ is diameter. Select a location above a major root approximately 2-3 feet above the ground level. Avoid 6 inches within a previously tapped location. A gallon of sap a day sounds great does it not? Well, it is approximately a 40/1 ratio of sap to finished syrup.
  2. You will need to drill holes in the tree to insert the taps. Here are the type of taps I like to use. One is a 7/16 size tap on the left and a 5/16 size on the right. The tape on the drill bit is for how deep to drill the hole in the tree.Drill bits with tapsDrilling hole for 5/16 tap
  3. After you get the hole drilled in the tree you will need to lightly pound the tap into the hole to seal the sap from leaking out.Taping in tap with rubber mallet
  4. Next step is to connect tubing from the tap to a 5 gallon bucket. I use 5 gallon buckets so I don’t need to empty them as often. Any clean food grade bucket will do. Make sure it has a cover so you don’t get debris in the sap. You may need to put a weight to top of the bucket to keep from blowing over.Hard maple with bucket setup
  5. I will explain how to concentrate the sap into maple syrup in a different article.

Resources:

  1. 7/16 taps  or 5/16 taps work well for me.
  2. Use 5/16 tubing to go from the tap to the bucket available here or 3/8 tubing from Menards here, it fits looser, but works if you go straight down to the bucket.
  3. Taps & tubing is available from Amazon here

 Happy Tapping!

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