Sugar producers use a 7/16 inch drill bit to tap trees. The holes are usually bored to a depth of about 2 1/2 inches and at a slightly upward angle so that the tap drains well. Care should be taken not to "round out" the hole. Traditional guideline suggest that tap holes be six inches to the side or twenty four inches above or below unhealed tap holes. Tap holes will be healed in 2 or 3 years. Be cautious of clustering tap holes in subsequent seasons. Traditional guidelines allow up to four taps in big trees; however, conservative tapping allows only 2 taps even on very large trees. Producers currently follow both guideline. Large trees with fewer taps tend to produce more sap per tap than when more taps are used, so the decision on which set of guidelines to follow is complicated. Both traditional and conservative tapping guidelines are included in the table below.
Traditional and conservative tapping guidelines for sugar
|# of Taps||Traditional Guidelines Tree Diameter||Conservative Guidelines Tree Diameter|
|1||10-15 inches||12-18 inches|
|2||15-20 inches||larger than 18 inches|
|4||larger than 25 inches||NO|