This might not be the March you had envisioned, with the up and down temperatures and icy slopes, but have no fear, there are still plenty of activities to do in this in-between season. Whether it’s just you, or you have little ones who need to get their wiggles out, why not try something new? Our advice: try to tap a maple tree and see if you can gather some of that delicious liquid gold. It may look intimidating, but it surprisingly easy to do it yourself.
When To Tap Maple Trees
Sap usually starts to flow between mid-February and mid-March. Sap flows when day temperatures rise above freezing and night temperatures fall below freezing. The rising temperature creates pressure in the tree making the sap flow.
Which Maple Trees To Tap
Select your maple trees based on their higher sugar content: Sugar, Black, Red, Silver. Select trees that are mature (at least 12 inches in diameter) and healthy.
Greater than 27 inches
Number of Taps
What Tools You Need
hammer, spiles (small metal peg used to obtain water from the tree), hooks, buckets, and lids.
You can buy these supplies at: Hindles Clarksburg Hardware
How To Do It “Tapping The Tree”
1. Decide on the placement: The height of the tap hole should be at a height that allows easy collection. Generally, a height of about 3 feet works.
Tip: If the tree has been tapped in previous seasons, do not tap within 6 inches of the former tap hole.
2. Drill the hole: The size of the drill bit to be used depends on the type of spile you are using. Drill at a slight upward angle to create a downward sap flow from the hole. Gently tap the spile into the tree with a hammer (do not pound the spile into the tree, as this may cause the wood to split). If the sap is flowing, you should immediately see sap dripping from the spile.
3. Hang the bucket: Hang the bucket by inserting the hook into the hole on the rim of the bucket. Attach the lid to the spile.
Now, if you are not feeling brave or ambitious (and who can blame you!) Fortunately reaping the benefits of the maple syrup season doesn’t mean hard work for you if you’re not up for it. There are many maple syrup festivals and tours this time of year, why not enter your own harvest into one of the upcoming festivals!
Here are a few great festivals to get you started:
Maple Sugar Moon Festival – Grey Roots Museum
April 02 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. As the snow melts and the voices of the crows are heard ringing out over the tree tops, the sap begins to rise and our thoughts turn to the sweet anticipation of Maple Syrup. Each year, the Anishinabe people looked forward, with much anticipation, to the harvest and enjoyment of one of Mother Nature’s greatest treats – maple sugar. To the Anishinabe, this treat was called Ziinzibaakwad (cee cee baw kwad). The First Nations people shared this knowledge with the early European settlers who quickly learned to appreciate this seasonal gift as well.
Come on out to Grey Roots and rejoice at this traditional rite of spring. Learn its history from the early days of our Aboriginal people to our first European settlers and beyond.
Maple syrup making and tasting
Wagon rides from 12 noon – 4 p.m.
Aboriginal games for kids
Maple syrup songs and teachings
Hot maple cider
Hot funnel cakes with maple syrup
Kiwanis Club PANCAKES! (cash only)
Regular admission rates apply. Pancakes sold separately
Holstein MapleFest – Holstein
April 11-12th at Love’s Sugarbush – Bring the whole family for a day in our 40 acre sugarbush. Weʼll be serving our tummy filling Pancake and Sausage breakfast all day long. Enjoy our free craft sale with over 30 original vendors. Plenty of demonstrations in the sugar bush to enjoy, including the Fergus Highlands Pipe Band, Blacksmith, Taffy Pull, Ice Cream Making, Candle making, Catapults, our new Rope Bridge and plenty more.
Maple Syrup Festival – Elmvale
April 25th – The Festival offers something for the whole family. Our award winning maple syrup, arts and crafts, midway rides, pancake eating and log sawing contests, great music and of course the sugar bush tours throughout the day Saturday
There is no need to wait out the muddy season inside. With a little bit of creativity and planning, there is always something new and exciting to try in the Southern Georgian Bay!