Ever wondered how tapping is done? It is definitely a great venture the whole family can be part of and at the same time collecting sap and turn is a tasty sugar. The tapping season normally starts in March and runs until mid-April or when the tree is “empty”. The start for tapping can vary from area to area and is influenced by below-freezing temperatures at night followed by daytime temperatures in the 40 degrees Fahrenheit range.
There are a few important things you have to know before start tapping trees. Firstly finding the right tree and spot, secondly drilling of the hole and setting the spile.
How to tap a tree
A healthy tree with lots of leaves in the summer is a good indicator for sweet sap. One taphole can produce up to 12 gallons of sap and the larger trees can accommodate more than one tap.
Find a good spot to drill the hole and make sure you drill into clear white sapwood and avoid previous tapholes and other rotten or damaged areas on the trunk. Drill about 2-1/2 inches into the trunk. The best spot is above a large root or below a large branch on the south-facing side of the tree. Also important to remember if the tree has been tapped before, find the new taphole no closer than 12 inches above or below an old drill mark or 6 inches from side to side.
Use a clean and sharp drill bit and when removing the drill bit make sure it comes out with light brown shavings. Any dark brown colored shavings would indicate a bad part of the tree. Drill at a slightly upwards angle into the tree and stop at about 2-1/2 inches this will ensure drilling is done only into the sapwood and not the heartwood. By drilling to deep will make the tree susceptible to diseases.
Now the spile can be inserted by tapping it in with a hammer. Make sure not to tap to forceful as it could bend or break the spile. And finally attach a collection bucket and wait!
Click “NEXT” below to see second page for the list of trees that can be tapped.