A ladder might not be the best option for picking apples from trees surrounded by uneven ground. One fall from the ladder could result in an injury that maims you for life. Stay on the ground and use an apple picking tool. This device does the reaching for you. A pole with a deep basket at one end allows you to pick apples from the tree without having to do any climbing. Even if you have to use a ladder, use an apple picker to harvest the fruit just out of reach.
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Pole lengths vary from apple picker to apple picker, but some poles are a set length and other are extendable up to 15 feet. A metal basket attaches to the end of the picking end of the pole. Baskets have varying fruit capacities. The deep design helps keep the fruit in the basket and a sponge pad at the bottom keeps apples from bruising. Curved tines at the top of the basket act as picking fingers.
How to Use
Hold the pole with both hands and walk beneath the apple tree. Reach the basket of the picker up to an apple. Position the curved tines at the top of the basket so that the stem of the apple goes between two of them. Pull down on the basket to pick the fruit from the tree. When you do this, the apple falls from the branch into the basket. When it hits the bottom, the sponge pad cushions the fruit. Continue picking apples until the basket's full. Lower the basket downward, while keeping the metal picking tines on the ground-side of the basket. This will ensure the fruit doesn't fall out. Remove the apples and pick some more.
Apple pickers vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but the purpose remains the same. Some types have baskets made of plastic instead of metal. Others have a plastic bag basket. The bag attaches to the frame of the picking tines that can be removed when full. This is handy because you don't have to transfer the apples. If you're going to pick a lot of apples, consider an apple picker with an aluminium pole. The lighter weight reduces muscle fatigue. Wood poles are also available.
Make Your Own
Cut the bottom off of an empty gallon milk jug using a carpet knife. Bend two metal clothes hangers so that the corners fold into each other. These will be the picking tines of the tool. Lay the hangers on the handle side of the milk jug and tape them in place with duct tape. Allow the hanger corners to extend about 4 to 5 inches above the hole in the bottom of the milk jug. Bend the corners in over the opening in the milk jug. The bend will make for better picking. Screw a broom handle into the spout of the milk jug and wrap the hook ends of the hangers around the spout. Tape the broom handle in place if necessary.
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