Tapping the Birch

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by sticks65, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. sticks65

    sticks65 Monkey++

    Its that time of year again in the UK and the birch sap is rising.

    I made this thread a couple of years ago for another forum but thought SM would be a good place to post it.

    Tapping the Birch.

    BIRCH [Betula pendula]

    In England we tap the Birch in spring[March],The sap rises for 14 days.
    The sap can be used as a pure source of drinking water in an Emergency,It can also be boiled down to a sugary syrup,used to make beer and wine.
    Full of sugar,Vit C and fights Cancer you can see it is a good Tonic.

    The tools you will need to tap are:
    Drill and bit.
    A length of hose.

    Now all you do is find a birch tree about five years old,
    Once you've Found your birch push your knife into the bark so it go's through the bark and into the inner tree,if the sap flows the tree is ready.

    Drill a hole about an inch deep and push your hose in the hole and put the other end into the bottle and tape it to the bottle,Then you tie the bottle to the tree and leave it for 24 hours.
    1 gallon per tree is all you should take because you don't want to kill the tree.

    Once you have got enough sap you will need to plug the hole,I cut a piece of birch branch and trim it to fit the hole then tap it in with my axe and cut it flush to the tree,You can also plug the hole with clay.

    Tools you will need to plug hole are:

    Once you have plugged the hole you can drink your SAP no filtering needed it is pure.

    I've just got back and here are the results,I only tapped this tree to show the folks here,The tap was left for two hours and a 2 liter bottle is a quarter full,Now if you was in a survival situation you could camp by a Birch and leave your tap in all night and that 2 liter bottle would be full,So id say to everyone who shows interest in this post to put some hose pipe in your pack.

    As you can see the hole is plugged so the tree will not bleed out,Please make sure you do plug the hole or else the tree will DIE.


    tools.JPG to.JPG drill.JPG hole.JPG tree. DSCI0195.JPG DSCI0193. plug.JPG sap.JPG p.JPG
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 2, 2014
    Motomom34, GOG and kellory like this.
  2. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    Is that the same subspecies of birch we have here in the colonies?
  3. sticks65

    sticks65 Monkey++

    The birch tree in my photo is an old silver birch.

    You can tap all birch species.

    Ive tapped.

    Silver birch.
    paper birch.
    yellow birch.
  4. hog

    hog Drinking Mampoer.

    Sticks is right you can tap all Birch mtrees at the right time of the year.
  5. NotSoSneaky

    NotSoSneaky former supporter

    Never would have found this thread without "Featured Thread" . [OO]

    Everyone's heard of maple syrup.
    Some have heard of Hickory syrup.
    But I never heard of Birch syrup.[tongue]

    I live where Birch trees are plentiful. I'll have to try making Birch syrup.[coo]
  6. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Stick's accent got me , Tapping a BIRCH , Not B***H :)
    We have Alder and they are like weeds , last 25 years then start to die. I should try them also , but I was under the thought that they need to go through a freezing temp cycle to have sugar sap ..

    Don't know for sure.
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
    kellory likes this.
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