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What Happens When You Tap a Tree?

     Select a healthy surface, use a #7 bit, and drill about 2" into the tree.

 Your drill will penetrate the sapwood (xylem)


Do not drill into the heartwood.

     Spiles are inserted into the taphole. They are made of wood or plastic. They serve to channel the sap into a bucket or tube and prevent the hole from drying out. Over the years, numerous designs were used. The earliest ones were made of wood with a long spout.
     The spile is inserted into the taphole ...
     and tapped in gently but securely.


The tab of the spile serves as the support for the bucket.



Plastic spiles and tubing are often used instead of buckets

     At the end of the season the spile is removed. The growth of the cambium closes the tap hole in one or two growing seasons in a healthy tree.