How to Sap a Lemon Tree


Sap, the sticky substance underneath a tree's bark, can be used for several purposes, especially in the culinary world. Many may not know that fresh sap from a lemon tree can accent almost any dish that needs some citrus or acidity, whether it's honey, seafood or pancake syrup. If you wish to sap your own lemon tree, it is best done in the spring season when the temperatures range from freezing to warm for the best sap flow.

Step 1

Select a lemon tree that's mature, at least 12 inches in diameter. Drill a hole on the southwest side of the tree trunk about 1 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Drill upward into the bark so the sap can drip down.

Step 2

Use the hammer to carefully tap the spout into the drilled hole. Make sure you don't split the wood; if you do, you must start over.

Step 3

Hang the bucket onto the spout's hook so the sap can drip into it. You can use a specialized bucket with a lid that covers everything except where the sap flows in so nothing else gets into the sap.

Step 4

Harvest the bucket of sap once the flow has slowed significantly or the bucket is at least half full. Don't allow it to sit in the sun too long, which affects the flavor. Pour the sap from the bucket into bottles and store in a refrigerated area.

Step 5

Clean your sapping equipment at each season's end with a mixture of 1 gallon of hot water to 2 tbsp. chlorine.

Things You'll Need

  • Lemon tree
  • 7/16 inch drill bit
  • Drill
  • Spout
  • Hammer
  • Bucket
  • Storage bottles
  • Refrigerator
  • Water
  • Chlorine


  • Cornell University: Sapping Trees
  • Camden News: Tapping The Tree, From Sap to Syrup
Keywords: tree sapping, lemon tree care, sapping a tree

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.