We tapped our trees a couple of weeks ago,and as soon as we drilled a hole in the trees,the sap started pouring out.
The hole should not be more than an inch into the tree,and between 2 and 4 feet up the side of the tree. The measurement should be from the ground,not the top of the snow. The hole should be at a slight upward angle. Once you have your hole,you tap in your spout. Some people use plastic tubing and and the sap drains down the tubing into the gathering bucket. We use the old galvanised style buckets.
We wound up with 10 buckets,and three of the trees were double tapped. We have Silver,Red,and Sugar Maples. We did buy covers for the buckets so little "treats"don't find their way into the sap. Even though we strain the sap before boiling and after,there's no sense in having more debris to strain out than necessary.
We tapped the trees on Feb 22,when the weather forecast called for a week in the upper 30's to low 40's. The day we tapped it was nice,40 degrees and sunny,but shortly after that our forecast changed and the days were chilly and overcast. We also had some periods of snow. It hindered our sap flow. The next day we gathered the sap ,and had 5 gallons. Then the following day we gathered 2 1/2 gallons. Since you should boil down the sap within a day or two of gathering,we boiled it down on Thurs Feb 25. Out of the 7 1/2 gallons, we got 1 1/2 pints. It took 7 hours to boil it until it reached the proper boiling point ( which is determined by a good foam).
We do not have a fancy maple shack. We have a stock pot,a standing propane stove,and a large propane tank. Next post I will show you how we boil down our sap. Oh,and by the way....our sap was Deee-licious!!!!!