Introduction: Painting Extension Fruit Picker

I have a carambola (star fruit) tree in the back yard. It is a root-grafted Thailand variety that is intended to be eaten rather than sliced for garnish. I fed it real well and it got taller than advertised. It's about 20 feet to the top. The fruit will bruise and rot quickly if allowed to fall and if allowed to ripen fully on the tree will be attacked by fruit flies, tree rats and birds.

So it has to be picked carefully and allowed to ripen indoors. The aluminum flashing around the base helps keep tree rats out.

The stems are very thin. This tree produces bushels of fruit all at once twice a year. It is sheltered from wind by a building and a very large sea grape tree.

To pick the fruit without dropping it, I bought a fiberglass painter's extension pole from Home Depot and put a light bulb changer on the end. The pole retracted is 6', extends up to 12' and with my arm extended one-handed can reach almost to the top of the tree.

I extend the pole straight up and lock it, center the fruit inside the light bulb changer and then spin the pole until the stem breaks. Then I carefully unlock the pole and let it retract and remove the fruit. I have pinched a few fingers by releasing the pole lock all at once [and it slid down fast]

Those three bags are the second batch in a week. This tree cost me $25 at a local nursery, took about 5 years to grow to height and produces more fruit than I can eat, so I take the extra to work and church and give it away. Carambola is high in oxalic acid, so it shouldn't be eaten by anyone with gout or kidney disease. The Thai variety tastes like a green apple.