Tapping A Pine Tree For Sap

Tapping SapSap is a very useful resource that can be used for a variety of purposes. It can be used as a fuel for starting fires, as an adhesive often used in hafting arrowheads, and medicinally to help heal wounds.

Most folks are familiar with the concept that maple trees are tapped to produce syrup. They are tapped in the early Spring when sap begins to flow and uses a spile or tube to reach the cambium layer that lies behind the outer bark.

The reason for tapping a pine tree for bushcraft is more likely for an immediate need and performed at any time and without special equipment. The outer bark must be penetrated so that sap can be released. As shown in the photo a simple “V” shaped notch can be cut by blade or sharp stone to accomplish this. Cutting the bark on a larger tree may take more effort but will have less impact on the health of the tree.

Of course sap may already be available by inspecting neighboring trees that may have been injured by storm winds or by other means that have left deposits on the outer bark. Any dried sap collected can be heated to liquefy for your application.

I invite comments by those who can share their experiences in harvesting pine sap.

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