Tapping Birch Trees in the Spring.

Its that time of the year when for tapping birch trees. 

Winter is trying to release its grip on Northern Europe, with the odd slip of a frost and recently a lot of rain coming of the land and flooding the river valleys.  

It is also the time when nature starts to wake from its winters sleep and life starts to flow through the veins of animals and plants.

Home dry cured Bacon cooking over an open fire, whilst brewing Coffee with Birch Sap.

I love this time of the year as their is a bit of warmth in the air and everything is waking up.  

Willow and Birch are two of the earliests trees to wake up and one of my pointers that the season is changing is when it’s time to tap the Birch trees for their sap.

Birch sap is collected only at the break of winter and spring when the sap moves intensively.

Birch sap collection is done by drilling a hole into its trunk and leading the sap into a container via some conduit: a tube or simply a thin twig: the sap will flow along it because of the surface tension.

The sap has to be collected in early spring before any green leaves have appeared, as in late spring it becomes bitter.

The collection period is only about a month per year. Tapping a tree does not harm the health of the tree.

If the tap hole is not well plugged with a round tight fitting dowel there is a possibility that the sap continues to flow causing not only a loss of nutriment but also a risk of infection and fungal attack.

How to tap a Birch Tree

Tapping Birch trees in the Spring
Tapping Birch trees in the Spring

You don’t need much equipment for tapping Birch trees. 

For this all you need is a small knife, auger, small stick to act as a spile and a container to catch the sap in.

I personally don’t use an auger I use a small whittling knife which is perfect depth and diameter of hole.



Tapping Birch trees in the Spring

Start drilling you hole, look at the colour of the bark if it’s dark and looks rotten then plug the hole and find another tree.

Drill at about a 30 degree angle no deeper than about 3cm, as you start you start drilling you will see the sap start to flow.  

Clean the hole out to remove as much sawdust as you can as this will only start to flow with sap into your collecting container.

Your spike should be carved so it fits the hole snugly and that there’s a good nook carved to hold your catching container.  

If you are looking at collecting a large amount then either attach it to the tree or rest it on the ground.

Once you’ve cleared the hole push in the spile and hang your collecting container on the spile.  Start collecting the sap and sit back and wait.

Try reducing the liquid down to make a syrup it will probably be about 60:1 or heat it up and brew a coffee with it.

Spend a day out in the woods with the children making breakfast we pretty much always take out our Frontier Stove by Anevay and tapping Birch trees.




3 Replies to “Tapping Birch Trees in the Spring.”

  1. Hey,

    Hope you are doing well.

    Not sure if I have sent this request before.

    I am scheduling Mental Health Awareness re-blogs for the month of May, can I share a blog post of yours that’s related to the subject in any way.

    Your words can help educate the readers on the subject and give validation to the ones traveling in the same boat.

    Thank you! ?

    1. That’s fine. I’m happy to write something if you like as I deal with mental health a lot in the patients I see and also in my colleagues as I work frontline for the ambulance service.

      I honestly believe that this increased problem with mental health is due to people not getting outdoors and festering within 4 walls.

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