How To Tap A Maple Tree

How To Tap A Maple Tree

In the spring of 2013 my brother and neighbor and a couple of friends tried our hand a making homemade maple syrup for the first time. We had so much fun doing it and were actually successful in making some tasty syrup. I decided to do a post on it and hopefully another person or family can have as much fun as we did.

Last year was a banner year for collecting sap as the weather was just perfect. What you want is temperatures above freezing during the day around 36-45 degrees and at night you want the temperature to dip back into freezing temperatures in the 20’s. This can be a very small window of time lasting 2-3 weeks so you need to be prepared and ready. I live in Minnesota near Minneapolis and it’s  March 9th and we just tapped four maple tree’s yesterday to start our 2014 season.

How To Tap A Maple Tree-What You Need

  1. Maple tree that is over 18 inches in diameter.
  2. Cordless drill and a 5/16 drill bit.
  3. Five gallon buckets with lids.
  4. Tree tap or spiles
  5. Hammer.
  6. Plastic tubing and T connectors.
  7. Brand new plastic garbage can.
  8. Temperatures above freezing during day & freezing at night.


How To Tap A Maple Tree 002







Tree Diameter   Number of Taps

less than 10″    –        0
10″ to 14″            –       1
15″ to 19″             –      2
20″ to 24″              –      3
25″ or larger           –  4

We have about a dozen huge silver maple trees between our house and the neighbors. All of our trees are over two feet in diameter and really produce sap when the weather is ideal. You can tap silver, sugar, red, and black maple trees.

How To Tap A Maple Tree Video 004

We drill the hole into the tree using a 5/16 drill bit. Drill the hole at a slight upward angle to a depth of 1.5 to 2 inches at about waist level. You can mark your drill bit with a marker or tape to the correct depth and this helps if your going to be tapping multiple maple trees or it’s nice if your kids want to drill the hole. They have a gauge to use, you don’t want to drill to deep can you can damage the tree. Make sure you get all the wood shavings out of the hole and don’t blow into the hole as that can create bacteria growth. Just use the drill bit.



Learning how to tap a maple tree and doing it is very easy . The hard work comes in converting this sap into delicious maple syrup. I’ll will be posting about our 2014 season and teaching you step by step . So get your supplies ready and start tapping your maple trees. I finished a post all about collecting and storing the sap you can read it here. “Collecting Sap From Maple Trees” Leave me a comment or your feedback. If you have questions please ask.

How To Tap A Maple Tree Video 002