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Tapping Maple Trees for Home Grown Maple Syrup!

Got Maple Trees? You’ll Want to Try This

If you’ve bought maple syrup recently, then you know how expensive it is to buy 100% pure maple syrup. Yet there’s no comparison in quality and taste of real maple syrup versus those that say “maple flavor”.

So it’s good to discover that maple tapping is really not that difficult. In this article we’re sharing the basics of maple syruping to get you started. You’ll also find a video on how to make a maple taffy treat.

These are also fun projects to do with your entire family. What great fun… a day outside in the woods, prepping, tapping and sealing your maple trees, followed by making your own syrup and treat!


When is Tapping Season?

Excerpted from Mother Earth News article by Julie Fryer 

Maple sapping typically begins in March and lasts through mid-April or until the trees bud out.

The start date will vary depending on where you live but the run is always triggered by the same conditions: below-freezing temperatures at night followed by daytime temperatures in the 40 degrees Fahrenheit range. So, if you live in a zone with this seasonal freeze/thaw cycle, you can become a sugarmaker!

Tap maple trees before the trees bud out.

What Kind of Trees Can I Tap?

The best maple syrup comes from sugar maple or hard maple trees because their sap has the highest sugar content. You can also tap others but the end product will taste a bit different and the boiling process takes a little bit longer.

You may want to tap the soft maples, birch, or box elder for sweet water.

The more leaves a tree has, the sweeter its sap.

The tree must be healthy with a full canopy of leaves in the summer – thanks to the magic of photosynthesis, the more leaves a tree has, the sweeter its sap. One tap hole will produce up to 12 gallons of sap in a season (which boils down to approximately one quart) and larger trees can accommodate more than one tap. Most sugarmakers follow this taps-per-tree rule:

• 12-inch to 18-inch diameter tree = 1 tap
• 18-inch to 32-inch diameter = up to 3 taps
• 32-inch or more diameter = up to 6 taps

The more leaves a tree has, the sweeter its sap.

For more on this topic and others, visit Mother Earth News, an awesome resource.1)

How to Tap Your Maple Tree

Now for a how-to video about tapping maple trees, and info on when to tap, how to tap, where to tap, and more!

Now let’s look at how to make maple syrup, learn how to boil maple sap to make maple syrup. This is GardenFork.TV2)http://GardenFork.TV

For more explicit step-by-step instructions on how to tap maple trees, this article put out by University of Maine extension service should answer all your questions. They also have a “Print” function and videos.


But, if you want to know how to make Maple taffy… here’s a video on just that!

How to Make Maple Taffy (la Tire D’Érable) Reveena’s Kitchen

Next up is a DIY evaporator, for some detailed pics at the end of the video along with cost of materials.

One of our community members shared this information on her process. They’re tapping their tree now in zone 7b, because it’s been a mild February.

Backyard Maple Tree Tapping in Zone 7B

Contributor, Kimberly Constanzo

It’s our second year tapping our silver maples for maple syrup. It’s a low budget approach, and we will only get a small amount of syrup but still so worth it!

Kimberly uses stainless steel tree taps she got from Amazon.

We love her DIY tap buckets! We even used ziplocs for some of ours. Especially for the ones we tested from clipped branches, for the least impact. Some worked some didn’t. The branches clipped back the furthest were the best.

“Second year tapping maples. Low budget, and we will only get a small amount of syrup, but it’s so worth it.” Kimberly Costanzo, Zone 7b.

And here’s a photo share on the GardensAll Facebook page by Catherine Bell.

DIY Maple Tapping – image by Catherine Bell

If you enjoyed this, you will want to read the article on 9 trees besides maple that are also good to tap for sweet water that can be drunk as is or evaporated into syrup.

And if you’d like to ponder the possibility of getting into the sweet water business, you may be intrigued with this article on this anticipated billion dollar industry.

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