On Saturday, February 20th, 2016 we tapped our first maple trees. In our backyard there is a corn field, behind the corn field are some wetlands and lots of maples. I’ve always thought it would be neat to tap some trees for sap to boil down to syrup.
Here’s how we did it-
1. Explore and identify trees
This was a little tricky because we had never done it before and since there are no leaves or buds on the trees all we were going by was bark texture. We identified some maples; which we are calling swamp maples due to their location. After some research, I did find out you can tap a swamp maple. The water concentration will just be higher due to the tree’s location to water it takes up more water and therefore you just will need more sap to make your syrup.
2. Gather supplies
We shopped around at our local hardware store and found what we needed. We decided to tap 9 trees so we purchased 9 taps with hooks, and 9 buckets (we just bought plastic pails used for painting with no lids). The other things you’ll need is a drill with 1/2″ drill bit and a hammer.
Now for the fun part! We drilled a hole about 3 feet up from the ground into the tree. Then we used a hammer pound the tap into the tree. Then hang the bucket from the tap’s hook. It would have been ideal to have a lid on the bucket to keep insects, pieces of bark and rain out of the sap. But, we made due. Now, wait for the buckets to fill up with sap!
Up next Part 2: collecting the sap and boiling into syrup.