Maple Tree Tapping

Today we drove up to a nature center in Maryland that taps their maple trees and makes yummy maple syrup.

First a small hole is drilled into the tree trunk and a spigot, called a spile, is inserted.  See the sap dripping?  It's clear.  A bucket is hung from the spile and a lid is slid onto the bucket.


We got to sample some of the sap.  We decided that it tasted like very watered down, flat Sprite.


The kids got to carry the buckets of sap down the hill using the yoke.


The sap was then added to the boiler.  It must boil and boil and boil to evaporate off most of the water.  As the water is evaporated, the sap gets thicker and starts to look golden brown.

We all got to sample some of the maple syrup that was made on site.  Yummy!  We compared it to store bought maple syrup and this syrup was much better!  It wasn't nearly as sweet as the store bought one.

Interesting Facts:

  • It takes 40-50 gallons of sap to make one gallon of maple syrup.

  • Tapping does no permanent damage to the tree.  Only 10% of the sap is collected each year.

  • Each tap yields an average of 10 gallons of sap per season, yielding about one quart of syrup.

  • Warm sunny days and frosty nights are ideal for sap flow.

  • The maple season may last 4 to 6 weeks, but sap flow is heaviest for 10 to 20 days.

  • The custom of collecting maple water and boiling it to create syrup comes to us from the Native Americans.