We have some maple trees that were tapped for syrup ~20 - 30 years ago. The taps and buckets were left in the trees. This has resulted in various trees mostly subsuming the taps and in some cases the lids and/or buckets. Some taps are barely visible, some buckets have a lip partially grown around.

We'd like to tap these trees - is that ok? Anything we should be concerned about for our own health (did old taps have lead or anything)? Anything we should be concerned about for the health of the tree (beyond removing our taps)? I'm assuming the standard advice of giving the area a wide berth for new taps is applicable. Should we do anything about the old taps/lids/buckets?

  • do nothing at all
  • cut any protruding metal roughly flush, mark it so we never cut/drill there
  • try and pull less embedded items out
  • try (not sure how) to surgically remove the items

1 Answer 1


I would leave them, maybe cut off exposed material where it is convenient; Admittedly I never was in that situation. I used titanium tubing taps because it was available; I removed the taps when they stopped flowing in the early spring. If you have not done this before, you may be interested in my experience. As the season progressed, flows from my two smallish trees was good and I was was concerned about weakening the trees because I did not know how to stop the flow. The trees were smarter than me and stopped flowing when appropriate. The sugar water is not the same as the sap. The sugar water stops then, apparently, the sap starts. I only tapped a few years before moving

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