Those of us outside of Wisconsin or Vermont may assume we have no chance of producing syrup without the abundance of sugar maples. After researching online and through the Minnehaha Conservation District, I found the native silver maples and box elders produce copious sap which is excellent for syrup.
A generous neighbor offered their silver maples as my first victim. They were planted about 8 years ago for a shelter belt and looked perfect for tapping. Using 1/4″ drill bit, I drilled at a slight upward angle 1.5″ into the tree. I also drilled holes into a 5 gallon bucket lid. Watery sap immediately started flowing. One end of food safe tubing from Menards, also 1/4″ in diameter, was inserted to collect the sap. The other end was inserted into the lid.
Weather conditions are key to a large harvest. Over Easter weekend we had several nights below freezing and days above 40 degrees. After about 4 days, I was able to collect 8 gallons of sap and was ready to cook it down.
Over the course of a day, my stove top evaporated almost all the water, leaving behind 6 cups of syrup to enjoy!
Check out South Dakota’s igrow to see how easy this can be!