Fruit trees are wonderful things to have in your garden. From apples and pears to cherries, plums and damsons, they’re Mother Nature’s very own sweets stash. However, compared to sugar laden commercial confectionery, locally grown, seasonal fruit is actually good for you, so it’s safe to tuck in!
Every year at harvest time, bountiful fruit crops are used to create mouth-watering home-made cakes and pies, sweet preserves and tangy pickles, to name only a few recipe suggestions. Sounds good? There’s only one obstacle to overcome before you can get started in the kitchen: you need to get the ripe fruit off the tree first.
Here are the various ways you can go about it.
Pick on the ground
Obviously, you can pick the low hanging fruit without much trouble and without getting off the ground, perhaps using a step stool or sturdy kitchen ladder for assistance to help reach up a little higher.
Don’t forget that overripe crops will fall to the ground of their own accord, so do check for usable fruit lying below. You could also give the tree a good shake to encourage it to jettison more ripe fruit. Yes, the crops may be bruised and therefore may not keep for long, but unless anything is actually rotting or full of worms, it may be perfectly OK to use in many delicious recipes.
Climb up and pick
If you’re physically nimble (or have a little helper who is), and depending on the structural shape of the tree in question, you may be able to climb up and pick fruit straight off the stem. Don’t try to be a hero though; only climb into the tree if it’s safe to do so. To collect up the picked fruit, take a bucket or long handled bag with you and wedge it in between the branches or hang it from a sturdy branch.
It’s advisable to have a second person on the ground on standby for assistance, so he can point out the location of any fruit you have failed to spot, and to catch any falling fruit, or the bucket – but hopefully not the climber!
Use a fruit picking tool
If you have a tall fruit tree in your garden, you need to invest in a manual fruit picker – they’re widely available and will come in handy year after year. This garden tool looks a little like a rake with its prongs forming a circle, and a little basket made from cloth, wire or plastic basket attached to a long (and often telescopic) pole.
Extend the pole until the basket is directly underneath a, say, pear or apple you wish to pick and jiggle it around until you’ve caught the fruit safely in the basket. It’s time consuming and physically tiring but well worth it if you want to harvest your fruit without damaging it in the process.
Video: How to use a Fruit Picker to Pick Fruit on Tall Trees
Source: Huws Nursery
Rent a cherry picker
If you have several tall fruit trees in your garden, or even an orchard, why not save yourself an awful lot of time and use a cherry picker? Also known as boom lifts, elevated work platforms or basket cranes, they were originally designed to – you’ve guessed it – pick cherries.
These days, these high level powered access platforms mounted onto trucks are mainly used for commercial maintenance. From window cleaning and roof & gutter work to tree surgery, construction and overhead power cable repairs, cherry pickers can enable operatives to safely work at height.
Whether you’re hiring one for picking cherries, plums or pears, the boom arm has a people basket (or other safe platform) at the end and can lift and manoeuvre you safely to the top of the highest tree where we all know the sweetest fruit are always to be found!
Mike James, an independent content writer and frequent picker of fruits – but not the difficult to reach ones of course, for those and for the information in this post, Mike consulted MC Property Maintenance.