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The main problem I have with fruit trees is that they very seldom stop growing at 8′ tall. Most of the best looking harvest is far above that, so I need a way to extend my reach. Enter the fruit picker.
I have a very old one my father passed on to me, and it works. That’s about all I can say about it. The wire cage is broken, bent, and misshapen, and smaller fruit falls through it as fast as I can pick it. It’s on a rough wooden handle that I have covered with tape to avoid splinters, but which still gets me now and then. I don’t want my children using it, so we started looking for a replacement. I finally decided we would just make our own.
There were a number of reasons for this.
I started checking around, and found many different ways to make them. Here are the best ones I found.
We decided to make the pop bottle picker, because it was free and simple. My son is holding our first two pickers in the picture. We used 24 ounce bottles and mine had an old broom handle and duct tape holding it all together. My son’s used a piece of bamboo for the handle, and his was just as successful. We’ve used them to pick apples, crab apples, plums, pears, and hawthorns with no signs of it working loose. Today there were some pears that were still out of reach, so we lashed the two sticks together and kept on going. It worked great! It’s not quite big enough for larger apples, but all we need for those is a 1.5 liter bottle. Cut it and tape it on, and we’re good to go.
If the fruit seems to be consistently out of reach, you may want a telescoping handle. I have one that came with a broom, and it extends out to about 10′ long. With my height, that’s about 18′ of wild fruit I can reach.
Good luck with making your own, and whichever style you decide to use, happy picking!
This article originally appeared at Examiner.com