Instead of buying spiles, I decided we should try and making something from what we had or could acquire. Jane, Mark and I went to the local bike trail and cut some sumac sticks. Sumac has a pithy center and woody outside. We thought it would be easy to bore out the pith and use these as spiles. Unfortunately, they were sticky and sapping and the woody part was thin and not strong enough. We abandoned that idea and grabbed some old dowel material we had laying around. We cut the dowels to about a 4-5” length, and drilled a quarter inch hole in though the center. Mark tapered the one end that would go into the tree. We took some one gallon ice cream buckets with lids and drill a hole in the side near the top for the dowel to fit through.

Paul, Mark and I head out to the trees with a drill and bit to make the hole for the spile and a nail for each bucket to hang on the tree. We tapped our first five trees. Yeah!

Then we waited. No sap. We waited. No sap. We waited some more. Still no sap.

Categories: Gardening