Tap the tree demonstration

Maple Syrup Festival

Tap the tree demonstration

Oakville, Ontario L6M, Canada

Created By: Bronte Creek Provincial Park


Now we know what sap is and how it is used, but how do we get it for ourselves?

Tapping a tree does no permanent damage to the maple tree if done properly. A properly managed sugar bush can sustain production for hundreds of years. One of the most important considerations to ensure the tree is not harmed is making sure it is old enough (about 40 years old) to afford losing sap.

How do we know if a tree is old enough to tap?

It’s not how tall the tree is but how wide the tree is. The tree has to be at least 25 cm (10”) for one spile and bucket.

Early settlers did not have battery powered drills so they would use a brace and bit. The hole does not need to be very deep. Drill just past the bark, no more than 3 inches on a slightly upward angle. The hole should be on an upward angle to help the sap drip down the spile.

Once we have a hole drilled the spile should be tapped in with a hammer. Hammer until it is snug.

Next a bucket is hung on the hook. Now you have completed tapping the tree!

Each bucket must be checked several times a day.

Each tap can fill one bucket each day when the weather is right.

At the end of the season the spile is removed and the tree will naturally heal the hole. A spile remover is used to pry the spile out.

This point of interest is part of the tour: Maple Syrup Festival


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