Help, My Fruit Is Too High Up: Tips For Tall Tree Harvesting

Person Climbing Up A Ladder Onto A Tree
tall fruit harvest
(Image credit: glebchik)

Large fruit trees can obviously hold many more fruits than small trees, given the size and abundance of branches. Harvesting fruit from tall trees is much more difficult though. If you are wondering how to reach high up fruit, read on. We’ll give you tips about tall tree harvesting when the luscious fruit is too high up to reach.

Tall Tree Harvesting

Your tree is tall and laden with gorgeous fruit. Whether those fruits are apples, lemons, figs, or nuts doesn’t matter; a gardener doesn’t want to waste the harvest. What if the fruit is too high up to reach from the ground though?

Tall tree harvesting is tricky because “tall” can mean anything from 15 feet (5 m.) to 60 feet (20 m.) or more. The techniques you can use for harvesting fruit from tall trees depend, to some degree, on how tall the tree is.

How to Reach High Up Fruit

When you need to harvest fruit from large trees, you can consider a number of options. If your tree is not too tall, you can just stand on a ladder with a basket and pluck. Another popular method of harvesting fruit from tall trees is laying out tarps on the ground and shaking the tree so that the fruit falls into the tarps.

Obviously, this works best if the tree is somewhat supple and you are harvesting nuts or small fruits like cherries. The tarps should cover the ground to the leaf line. After shaking the trunk and dislodging as many fruits as possible, hit the branches with a broomstick to loosen even more fruits or nuts.

There are other ways to harvest fruit from large trees. One that works well with larger fruits or softer fruits is to use a basket picker tool. It is a long pole with a metal basket on the tip, with metal fingers curving inward. You’ll need to position the basket beneath the fruit and push up. Usually, you need to empty the basket after three to six pieces.

If you want to know how to reach high-up fruit, here’s another option. You can buy a long-handled pruner and clip off the stems of larger fruits by pulling the trigger to close the blades. The pruner clips just like scissors and the fruit fall to the ground.

If the tree is really tall and the fruit is too high up, you may have to allow the fruit on the top to fall from the upper branches on their own. Harvest them from the ground every morning.

Teo Spengler

Teo Spengler has been gardening for 30 years. She is a docent at the San Francisco Botanical Garden. Her passion is trees, 250 of which she has planted on her land in France.