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Friday, March 16, 2012

How to Seal a Maple Tree Tap Hole

     The daytime temperature has climbed into the 70's and the nighttime temperatures are now hanging in the 50's. It's unseasonably warm and this weather will stay with us for the next couple weeks - maybe longer! All of our maple trees have budded and they are no longer dripping sap. They are busy growing out their leaves now. It is important to seal the holes that were drilled into the trees otherwise bugs and disease can get into the tree and kill it. We can't let that happen.
     The best way to close up a tap hole in a maple tree is to find a maple twig that is about the same size as the hole drilled. You could run to the hardware store and get a bunch of dowel rods to cut up, but twigs are nature's dowels and they are conveniently located right near the tree's that you've tapped! Cut off a piece of twig about four inches long and pound it into the hole. Remember, the hole was drilled about 2" deep so about 2" of twig will poke out. If you find that the twig you cut is too thin (loose) use a piece from further up the twig branch. Nature provides us with tapered twigs, so soon enough you'll find a piece that fits snuggly. It can be somewhat forced into the tap hole by using a hammer. If it's too big, just find another piece or try turning it around.
     Because I use a nail in the tree on which to hang the jug, I also plug the nail hole with a small piece of twig. The tree will heal over and next year you'll find that the tap hole is sealed. You won't be able to remove the twig that was used to seal the hole. Nature is marvelous. Your trees will thank you for treating them well and with consideration. Next year, just find a different spot to drill.
     One way to tell if a tree is ready to be sealed is to look at the color of the sap in the jug. This is also one reason why I prefer to use plastic water jugs for home tapping. It's much easier to see #1 how much sap you got and also if it's clear or starting to turn dark amber in color. Once it turns dark amber there won't be as much sugar in the sap and it will not taste very good. It will taste woody or "buddy."


  1. Everything I read on the internet says not to plug the holes.



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