We hear a lot of questions about how to tap trees, collect maple sap and make maple syrup. Today we will talk about some of the most frequently asked questions we see and answer them below. If you have a question you’d like us to answer, ask us in the comments below or connect with us over on Facebook!
What is the smallest tree I can tap?
The smallest tree you would want to tap would have a diameter of 10” or ten inches. Trees smaller than that should not be tapped.
Can I install more than one tap or spout in my maple tree?
Trees with a diameter of 10”to 17” can support one tap. Trees with a diameter of at least 18” can support two taps.
How much sap will I get from each maple tree?
Each tree should produce around ten to twenty gallons of sap each season. This varies depending upon the maple season and the health of the individual tree. For example, two identical trees located right next to each other can produce very different levels of sap.
How deep should I drill into the tree?
Drill into the tree approximately 1.5” past the bark and into the white wood. Total depth is approximately 2.5”.
Does maple tapping hurt or damage the tree?
Tapping does not hurt or damage the tree. Following proper care when tapping will avoid any damage to the tree. Only drill one tap hole with one spout for small trees to reduce stress on the tree. The maple is the only species that is self-healing, and the tap hole will heal and close up during the year.
When I’m done collecting sap, should I put anything into the tap hole to stop the flow of sap?
No. The maple tree will heal and close up the tap hole on its own. Never put any foreign objects or plugs into the maple tree.
What is in maple sap?
Maple sap is a complex natural blend of water, sugar, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants.
Is it safe to drink sap straight from the tree?
Generally speaking, sap is sterile before it leaves the maple tree. However, bacteria can enter the sap once it leaves the tree and is exposed to the environment or your collection container. It is similar to consuming raw cow’s milk; there are both risks and benefits to consuming raw vs. pasteurized beverages. To be safe, boil your maple sap first before drinking it.
How much sap does it take to make a gallon of finished maple syrup?
Sugar maples have the highest concentration of sugar in their sap, so they work best for making syrup. It takes about 40 gallons of sap boiled down to make one gallon of finished syrup.
Where can I buy a maple tree tapping kit and supplies?
Buy a complete tree tapping kit complete with guide sheet and instructions here at our online shop.
How do I tap a maple tree?
Watch our video guide on how to make maple syrup here!
How do I identify what kind of maple trees I have?
See our complete guide on identifying maple trees here.
8 thoughts on “Frequently Asked Questions About Tapping Maple Trees”
Got any details for the Pacific Northwest? Apparently, big leaf maple syrup is hitting the big time here
Hey Chris! You certainly can tap big leaf maple trees in the PNW. They have less sugar content in the sap compared to a sugar maple. From what I’ve read on the topic, the PNW weather will have less frequent sap runs because of the climate. I would encourage you to join a local group on Facebook to get in touch with enthusiasts who can better guide you in your local area.
When is tapping season over for Twin Cities, Minnesota this year 2020. I’m wondering if I can still tap? We have had some warm weather?? I can’t tell if I have “full buds” on my tree?
Hi Sue, thanks for reaching out! This is an old comment, but I’ll reply anyway. March is getting towards the end of the season, but the season may go until early April in your region depending upon the weather each year. Some April’s may be warmer or colder – it just depends. You’ll know when the season is over when the buds on the branches sprout open. If they are hard and closed, it’s not over yet.