While winter may bring a (temporary) halt to the harvesting of fruit and nuts, we Canadians know that from approx. February – March our local maple trees start producing that liquid gold sap! Understandably, we are often contacted by members of the community regarding our involvement in and knowledge of tree tapping and syrup production. While we are happy to support local initiatives such as the Vanier MuseoParc Sugar Festival, here are a few important points to keep in mind before tapping trees on your own:
1. City By-laws: While it is perfectly legal to tap trees on private property, tapping trees on City of Ottawa property violates Section 6 of our Municipal Tree and Natural Area Protection by-law which states: “(6a) No person shall injure or destroy the trunk of a tree, or (6c) No person shall affix any guy line or other fastener or fixture to a tree.” Tickets for such violations are given on a complaints-driven basis.
2. Contamination from pollution: While credible research has shown that contamination in urban soils does not impact the quality of fruit or nuts, it is unclear what effect it may have on sap. This is important to keep in mind, as the syrup is such a highly concentrated solution.
3. Tree Health: When tapping, it is important to only target strong and healthy trees. If a tree is struggling or stressed, tapping its sap can rob it of much needed nutrients.
4. Preparation: It is also crucial to be prepared for the high volumes of sap that can flow from the tree so that you avoid overflow and waste.
Take this information into consideration and you will be able to revel in the joys of sugar season legally, safely and sustainably. Happy tree-tapping!
(Images via Giphy)