On top of having fruit to harvest or beautiful bark to make into paper, certain trees can also produce sap that is ripe for the taking. In fact, some people successfully bring in extra income by planting and harvesting from trees, and that includes draining sap.
But if you’re not a professional in this field, getting started can be daunting. Whether you’re collecting sap from a pine or a birch tree, read this step by step guide to help understand how to harvest sap from your trees.
The first step is to gather the necessary tools to get the job done! You will need:
- A gathering item, such as a gallon sap bag or a bucket.
- Tapping bit.
- Rubbing Alcohol.
Guide to Gathering Sap
- Pick a Tree. You’ll need a healthy and tall tree if you want to harvest sap. Avoid picking any trees that have damage, aren’t fully grown, and have diseases or pests.
- Choose Your Side. You can either pick the south side or the north side of the tree to use for collecting sap. While many experts say that the south-facing side runs sap earlier, the north-facing side is best to use if you plan on preserving your sap.
- Drill a Hole. Use your drill to create a hole that is approximately one and one half inches wide. Make sure to do this at a slight upward angle and do it as quickly as possible. Once done, verify the wood you drilled into is white and not brown. If it’s brown, move onto another tree. If it’s white, use a nearby twig to get rid of the shavings.
- Install Your Spout. The first important step in doing this is to sterilize your spout with your rubbing alcohol. Next, tap the spout into your drilled hole with your hammer. Do so gently without damaging the tree too much. A good rule of thumb is to ensure the spout is tight enough to hold some weight (such as a gathering bag) but not so tight that it’ll split the wood. Once the spout is in, you’re ready to collect sap!
- Keep an Eye Out. The entire process will usually take about 14 to 21 days. However, some trees release sap much quicker, so you’ll want to check on your bucket or bag every so often. Otherwise, some of your hard work may go to waste! To put it into perspective, trees produce anyway to ¾ to one gallon of sap a day.
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