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From reading the different articles in RH and the post made here, I have come up with a couple of questions I would like to know the answers to. What determines if you can tap a certain tree? How do you decide how many taps to a tree? And last what keeps insects invading the trees through the tap holes?

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-02-23 15:18:51 (CST)

I will try to answer your questions as far as maple syrup goes. You can also make birch syrup, walnut syrup etc. They even make hickory syrup but that is a stretch, because you soak the bark in sugar water and boil to reduce to a sticky syrup.
Pure maple syrup is just that. The sap from the maple tree boiled. The water steams off and you are left with the pure syrup.
Any tree in the maple "family" can be tapped, even box elder. The sweetest and best producer is the hard maple, also known as sugar maple or rock maple. A blend of maples will also make very good syrup. The soft varieties like silver or reds do okay, but again the sap is not as sweet and you don't get as much of it.
A tree should not be tapped until it has a diameter of ten inches at chest height and then only one tap. At twenty inches two taps can be put in, but even the largest trees shouldn't have more than three. The sap is the life blood of the tree. The sap runs by pressure within the tree, more holes...less pressure.
Once the buds open on the tree, the season is over. The buds will give the syrup an off flavor and even smell. Pull the taps out of the tree and let it "bleed" all by itself. The tree will heal quite quickly over the hole.
Next year's hole should be drilled at least six inches left or right and up or down from this years hole.
I suggest 5/16 "tree saver" taps, for sustainability.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

G.D.Rose says 2017-02-23 19:00:15 (CST)

Thanks for the answers they were what I was looking for

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Andy Daniel says 2017-02-24 06:17:49 (CST)

Very interesting thank you for the question and thank you for the answer.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-02-24 19:05:35 (CST)

I'm glad that I could help

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-02-25 18:19:00 (CST)

I should have mentioned, if you'd like to read a little about my sugaring operation, you can check out my blog. Just search the spring months of February and March. The blog goes back to 2011. It can be found at.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-02-27 08:01:48 (CST)

We have a serious lack of maples on our farm....only one silver that is tappable size. We have an abundance of black walnut though. This year, we decided to tap some. Turns out black walnut is very difficult to filter due to having a high natural pectin content, which clogs the trying to strain jelly. We decided to limit the fight and make two products out of the sap....syrup and jelly. Both taste incredible, and I can't wait for next year so we can produce many batches!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-02-27 17:47:05 (CST)

Man Redgate, that looks yummy!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Charlie says 2017-02-28 13:52:39 (CST)

I have been making syrup from box elders for quite a few years, and the quality is very good. I tapped a few black walnuts this year and so far I am disappointed. They only put out small quantities of sap, with lots of tannin (or something), and the flavor of the syrup is kind of bland. Not sure I will tap black walnuts next year.

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Redgate says 2017-02-28 19:51:39 (CST)

My apologies to the OP if we've hijacked your thread. It seemed you questions were answered pretty well. As far as the flavor of the black walnut, we think it's incredible, and much richer than maple, with just a hint of a butterscotch/nutty flavor. My research did imply your soil, how close the trees were to water, and the time in the season could alter the flavor. It's also pretty bland until it boils down enough, then it suddenly just turns to syrup and will scald a bit if you don't pay close attention. Maybe we just got lucky. Granted, our sap flow probably isn't anything like maple, but it's what we have here, and we have seen a definite difference in the flow from our trees higher on our bluff (away from our creeks) and those lower toward the creeks and even deeper in the ravines (right along the creeks). It's been a fun experiment, and we know which trees to tap early next year!

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

Ralph in N.E.Oh says 2017-03-01 20:55:43 (CST)

Well G D Rose, I am glad of the thread drift brought on by your questions. I learned a bit about black walnut. I have not ever tried it, but am curious about the butterscotch flavor, just to try :)

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

G.D.Rose says 2017-03-02 07:06:03 (CST)

I posted these questions to learn not only did get the information I wanted but more. That's what I like about this forum we all share ideas and learn from each other. I'm glad it grew a big as it did, thanks to all

1 year ago via Forums | Front Porch Forum

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