Collecting Sap From Maple Trees
In my previous post I wrote about how to tap a maple tree. Now it’s time to start collecting sap from your maple trees. Collecting and storing your sap is a very important step. We are going to go over what you need for supplies. We are also going to talk about the weather and how important temperatures relate to maple sugaring.
I want to bring something up before we talk about equipment. Maple sugaring is all about getting outside and having fun. It’s about learning something new and spending quality time with friends and family. I’ll be showing you what I’m using this year but I don’t want you to feel like you have to go out and spend a bunch of money or if you don’t have the funds or means to get the equipment don’t be discouraged you can use ice cream buckets and homemade taps. We used lawn sprinkler connectors as taps last year and anything I could grab to collect the sap. But we learned a few things last year and are ramping things up a bit in 2014.
Equipment Needed For Collecting Sap.
- Collecting vessel. I use 5 gallon buckets.
- plastic tubing.
- Plastic garbage can.
- 30 gallon garbage bags.
- outside thermometer.
- tree identification guide. (optional but recommended)
- 15 minutes a day of your time. (typical backyard)
Very Important-Cleanliness is vital for making syrup.
We have to remember we are making food that is going to be shared with family and friends. We are going to be storing our maple syrup for long periods of time so preventing bacteria from the start is very important. Everything needs to be washed thoroughly with soap and water. If you can afford it buy a new garbage can they are under $20 if you can’t much sure the can you are using is clean and definitely use a garbage bag as a liner.
What Causes Sap Flow ?
Sap flow is completely dependent on the temperature . When the temperature rises above 32 degrees or freezing point it creates positive pressure in the tree. When you tap the tree the sap moves towards the point of least pressure and into your bucket. If you see a maple tree with a wound on it you will see sap coming out on warm days. Our bodies are under positive pressure and when we cut ourselves the blood moves to the point of least pressure just like a tree. This sap comes from the branches above. It is not being pulled from the roots like many people think.
Question for you. If above freezing temperatures cause positive pressure. What do negative temperatures do to the tree ? Answer: creates negative pressure. The negative pressure creates a vacuum and sap is pulled up from the roots into the tree. It’s a natural re-charging system. Then when the temps get above 32 you will have a new supply of sap to collect.
Collecting and Storing Sap
Last year I was using one gallon ice cream buckets to collect my sap. I was getting nearly 2 gallons of sap a day. Before work I would empty the bucket into our garbage can with the garbage bag liner inside. When I got home from work it was full again. That’s why we went with the five gallon buckets this year.
Ideally you don’t want to store your sap for to long if the temperature stay in the 50’s. The tree sap will start to mold and get cloudy and then it’s no good. We were boiling sap every three days last year. The maple sugaring season could last anywhere from 3 days to 3 weeks. It all depends upon mother nature and the temperatures she brings us.
I hope you enjoyed this post about collecting sap from maple trees. In my next post I will be showing you how to boil the sap down into maple syrup. Please leave a comment and share this post if you enjoyed it.
2017 Minnesota Maple Sugar Season Prep Work
In the video below I go over the basic equipment needed to tap your maple trees and begin collecting saps. For the average family that wants to try collecting sap for the first time I would start with 3 bags. It will keep your cost down and will provide more then enough sap. The boiling process takes a long time and requires a lot of fuel so you don’t want to go overboard and have to waste the sap because you have to much.
Ways To Collect Sap From Maple Trees 2017
Our neighbor John uses the 5 gallon bucket and tubing method to collect sap. In the video I show how you can use an empty gallon milk container to collect sap. Just got to get creative and use the resources you have.