How to Tap Poplar Trees


There are many varieties of poplar ranging from cottonwoods to aspens. They can be found growing nearly everywhere in the United States. If you've ever parked your car beneath one of these stately trees, you know they produce copious amounts of sap. The best time to tap a poplar tree to harvest this sap is in early spring when production is at its peak. Beginning in early spring, collect sap each afternoon. Production should continue for three to four weeks.

Step 1

Drill the tap hole. The hole should be roughly 3 feet off the ground and positioned on the sunniest side of the tree. Position the bit where you would like to drill the hole and apply a bit of pressure to keep it in place. Then turn the handle of the brace and drill a hole that slants upward slightly. The hole should be 1.5 to 2 inches deep.

Step 2

Remove the brace. Then push the bit in and out of the hole a few times to remove wood from the hole.

Step 3

Insert the spile into the hole with the lip on the bottom.

Step 4

Use a hammer to gently tap the spile so that it sits securely in the hole.

Step 5

Collect the sap. Cover the mouth of a 5-gallon bucket with thin wire mesh to keep out bugs and debris. Then place the bucket at the base of the tree to collect the sap. Empty it periodically.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal tree spile
  • Brace with a 3/8" bit
  • Hammer
  • 5-gallon bucket
  • Wire mesh


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Keywords: tap tree, tap poplar, poplar tree

About this Author

Emma Gin is a freelance writer who specializes in green, healthy and smart living. She is currently working on developing a weight-loss website that focuses on community and re-education. Gin is also working on a collection of short stories, because she knows what they say about idle hands.