Please note – The instructions in this article are provided as information only. Please remember that trees in Assiniboine Park and other public spaces cannot be used by the public to collect sap. We encourage you to look around your yard for Manitoba maples or seek out local Manitoba Maple syrup producers.

While it is well known that the sweet sap of sugar maples can be boiled down to the delicious syrup we Canadians are famous for, did you know you can also produce syrup using the sap from Manitoba maples (Acer negundo)?

Here at Assiniboine Park, we have an abundance of Manitoba maples. This year our Park arborist, Benjamin Todd, tapped some of our Manitoba maples to test out the amount of sap we can collect with the hope of one day making some maple syrup!

Sap is collected in early spring, when temperatures reach above freezing in the day and below freezing at night. This will vary each year and for different regions.

As you will find out, it is quite a process to get the syrup from the tree to the kitchen table.

Steps to make Manitoba Maple Syrup

Step 1: Find a Tree
Manitoba maples can be identified by their opposite branching pattern, green to red-brown twigs, and hairy buds. If you want to be certain, be sure to consult a certified arborist to help you identify your trees.

Step 2: Drill a Hole
To start the sap collection process, an approximately two-inch-deep hole is drilled into healthy wood of the tree, at a slightly upward angle, around chest height.

Step 3: Insert the Tap
Taps are inserted and gently hammered in to secure them in the trees.

Step 2 Drill a Hole
Step 2: Drill a Hole

Step 3 insert the tap
Step 3: Insert the Tap

Step 4 collect and wait
Step 4: Collect and Wait

Step 4: Collect and Wait
Sap can be collected directly into sterilized buckets, pop bottles, milk jugs, or food-safe tubing connected from the taps to a large collection receptacle. Trees will generally produce 5 to 15 gallons of sap per season, though it varies based on tree health, weather conditions, and other factors.

Step 5: Boil Down
Once collected, the sap can be stored for a few days in a refrigerator but should be processed as soon as possible for best results. Sap is filtered and then boiled down at a 40:1 ratio for Manitoba maple trees, meaning 40 litres of sap will yield one litre of syrup. Boiling may take several hours. The final sap boiling stage should be carefully monitored as it is easy to burn when it approaches its finished consistency.