How to Tap a Maple Tree – Instruction Guide by Kaito Ridge

This past Summer we have updated our classic instruction guide on How to Tap a Maple Tree. We’re always looking to improve the product and information to make it as easy as possible to use. With that in mind, we have added some new information to our classic guide originally published in 2013.

The Kaito Ridge Tree Tapping Instruction Quick Guide (Updated August, 2020)

How to Tap a Maple Tree

After properly identifying your maple trees, you are ready to begin tapping!

  1. Gather the tools for the job: drill (cordless preferred), hammer, food grade collection container, and a 5/16” drill bit.
  2. Locate the tree’s southern exposure. The side facing south tends to produce sap earlier than other sides of the trees.
  3. Measure the height of the tap hole carefully before drilling. The tap height is based on the total height of your collection container and the length of tubing. Be careful not to drill too high up, or your tube will not reach your container.
  4. Drill into the tree approximately 1” past the bark, into the white wood, at a very slight upward angle. Total depth will be approximately 1.5 to 2”. Remember to use caution and wear eye protection while drilling. Do not blow into the tap hole to clear debris. Doing so can introduce bacteria into the tree which can reduce sap yield.
  5. Insert the smooth end of the spout into the tree. while the barbed end inserts into your blue tubing. (Pro Tip: place the end of the tubing into hot water for 10 seconds to soften the tube and ease the attachment of the tube to the spout!).
  6. Lightly tap the spout into the tree, and be careful not to hammer the spout in too far or it will be difficult to remove. It is better to have the spout slightly loose than to have it stuck in the tree.
  7. Connect your tubing to a food grade collection container. We suggest using a large white 5 gallon food grade bucket with lid. An empty 1 gallon spring water jug can also be used. Be sure to check the collection container daily, up to twice a day (morning and night) as the flow of sap varies by tree and temperature. Two trees on the same property right next to each other may produce different amounts of sap. This is normal.
  8. When you’re finished collection, the equipment can be cleaned and reused next year! (Pro Tip: to ease disassembly of the tube and spout, place in hot water again for 10 seconds to soften the tube.) Do not insert anything into the tree’s tap hole when your season is finished, Maple trees are self-healing and will repair the hole themselves.

For more information on how to boil down your collected sap, identify the different types of maple and birch trees or to learn more about sugaring, visit us online at http://www.kaitoridge.com

US Copyright Kaito Ridge 2020

How to Tap a Maple Tree

After properly identifying your maple trees, you are now ready to begin tapping!

  1. Gather the tools for the job: drill (cordless preferred), hammer, food grade collection container, and a 5/16” drill bit.
  2. Locate the tree’s southern exposure. The side facing south tends to produce sap earlier than other sides of the trees.
  3. Measure the height of the tap hole carefully before drilling. The tap height is based on the total height of your collection container and the length of tubing. Be careful not to drill too high up.
  4. Drill into the tree approximately 1” past the bark, into the white wood, at a very slight upward angle. Remember to use caution and wear eye protection while drilling.
  5. Insert the smooth end of the spout into the tree, while the barbed end inserts into your blue tubing. (Pro Tip: place the end of the tubing into hot water for 10 seconds to ease the attachment of the tube to the spout!)
  6. Firmly tap the spout into the tree, and be careful not to hammer the spout in too much or it will be difficult to remove. It’s better to have the spout slightly loose than to have it stuck in the tree.
  7. Connect your tubing to a food grade collection container. We suggest using a large, clean spring water jug or soda bottle. Be sure to check the collection container daily, up to twice a day (morning and night) as the flow of sap varies by tree and temperature.
  8. When you’re finished collection, the equipment can be cleaned and reused next year. (Pro Tip: to ease the disassembly of the tube and spout, place in hot water again for 10 seconds to soften the tube.)

For more information on how to boil down your collected sap, identify the different types of maple trees and to learn more about sugaring, visit us online at http://www.kaitoridge.com

Need more help? Chat with us on Twitter or Instagram @KaitoRidge or email us at hello@kaitoridge.com

Kaito Ridge “How to Tap a Maple Tree” Instructions US Copyright 2013

How Many Taps per Maple Tree?

Ah yes, the age old question of how many taps per maple tree is upon us once more. At this point in your maple sugaring adventure you have your maple tapping kit ready to go, and you’re looking at the best trees on your property to tap. You wonder, “exactly how many spouts can I put into my big sugar maple out back – and how many in the small tree next to it?”

how-many-taps-per-tree

Tree diameter determines the number of spouts

Older, large diameter trees can support more spouts than younger, smaller diameter trees. While most trees will be fine with just one spout, sometimes you may want to put in two spouts to maximize your sap production from a very large tree. Generally speaking I would not recommend installing more than two spouts in even the largest trees. As stewards of the land, sustainability and tree health must be our priority.

maple-sap-spout

Measuring a tree’s circumference and calculating the diameter

You’ll need a measuring tape and piece of string to measure the circumference of the tree.

  1. First, wrap the string around the the trunk at breast height – about 4.5 feet high and mark the string with a pen.
  2. Lay out the string and measure it’s length to determine the tree’s circumference.
  3. Divide the circumference number by 3.14 to calculate the diameter.

Let’s say, for example, the tree’s circumference is 38 inches around. Divide that number by 3.14 to get the actual diameter. In this case, 38 / 3.14 = 12.10 inch diameter. We can put only one spout in this sized tree.

Trees at least 12” in Diameter

Trees should have a diameter of at least 12” to be tapped. Some guides allow for 9-10 inch diameter trees to be tapped, but it is best if you leave those younger trees with more time to grow.

Trees from 18” to 24” in Diameter

Trees with a diameter from 18” to 24” should receive no more than two spouts or taps. While it may be tempting to add a third spout to these giants, don’t. Future generations of sugar makers will thank you!

Need more tree tapping information? Curious about how deep to drill maple taps? See our FAQ here for a comprehensive list of most frequently asked tree tapping questions.

Shop our maple tree tapping kits and equipment here.