When to tap? The age old question

I have always used March 15th as the bench mark date for tapping trees if you use buckets.  Over the last twenty years of syrup making this has been a pretty reliable date.  In our operation we have made most of our syrup in the last week of March and the first week of April.  Once you tap a tree, and leave an open wound the tree begins  close that tap hole.  When using bucket spouts, air and bacteria can also get in the tap hole and dry out and reduce sap flow.  So in my experience tapping a tree means you have basically started a 3 week clock on sap flow.  At the end of 3 weeks those tap holes have reduced sap flow. Tapping early  in March means that you will get in on the early sap runs obviously, however, you will have reduced sap flow in the later sap runs, which in my experience have always been more productive and I want fresher tap holes for those runs.  The risk is that a rapid warm up could occur and there would be no “end of season” surge of sap.  Then tapping early would have been the wise thing to do.

So……   What are we going to do this year???   Well I plan to wait one more week and look at the forecast next Friday March 5.  Granted this week looks pretty good temperature wise.  People have reported some trees dripping and we will have 40’s for highs and 20’s for lows through next Friday.  Red and Silver maples will most likely be running and they  often run early,  so I might be inclined to tap them this week.  Following this week is a period of 3, maybe 4 days of rain/snow, and sap will most likely not run.  After this period, is when I will probably tap since we have mostly sugar maples.  Recall that temperatures were -25 below, about a week ago, so it will take a week of warmer weather thaw those larger trees.

I am looking at  March 11-13 to tap in the St. Croix valley.  The tap holes would then be 3 weeks old at April 6/7 which is typically the end of maple season.

My advice would be to watch the temperature forecasts daily and tap a couple of trees just to see what they are doing.

Be safe out there




Brief Warming Trend next week Feb 21.

Use this time to get in the woods to do tubing  maintenance/repair and Tapping if you have tubing.  Guys that have tubing have been reporting 50 percent tapped and not a drop of sap,   so the bucket and bag folks can relax and get their evaporators ready to go.  No need to worry about tapping yet,  even if you are tapping soft maples. I will be setting up my smoke and steam stacks, prepping the evaporator and setting up the Reverse Osmosis 900 gallon per hour CDL double post unit.  Alot of you have already purchased glass, which is great.  I have a full line of glass. and the decorative glass is getting sold out so do not delay. I have plenty of quarts, pints, 3/4 pints and half pint glass on hand.   I do not have an abundance of plastic, mostly gallons and 1/2 gallons and half pints.   No quart or plastic pints in stock at this moment…..scarce as hens teeth.

Enjoy the warm up and give me a call if you need supplies, I am around most days including Sunday afternoons till sunset.

Have a great week,


Valentines Day This Weekend!! Chilly Temps will most likely stop any thought of Tapping Early.

Wow, 6 weeks from New Years Day have just flown by.  Temperatures are subzero through Valentines and the following week which means tapping by March 1 like last year is unlikely.  This actually is more of a normal year as I use March 15 as a benchmark for tapping using buckets or bags.  The cold temps will also push the frost down, however,  we have had a snow pack of about 5-8 inches in the St. Croix Valley and the frost was 12 to 18 inches prior to this cold snap.

Maple Equipment and supplies have been very popular and as a result there are few hobby evaporators available.  The popular 18×48 5 inch drop flue, is sold out and may be available mid March, glass pints are getting scarce out there.  I still have a good supply of pints and most common glass, 8, 12,16 and 32 oz.

Its helpful for me if you called ahead so i can get your order ready,

I will be open everyday, including Saturday, and Sunday afternoons..

Stay Warm,