Fruit picking poles that are sold in box stores and garden centers are designed as a novelty item for casual users, namely the homeowner with a tree or two that is not cost sensitive.
We use our picking poles every day, in punishing conditions by volunteers who are not expert fruit pickers. The tool must be rugged, reliable, lightweight and comfortable. Then there is the issue of cost. For an all-volunteer non-profit organization, the cost is not the only determining factor, but is an important one.
We have tested more than ten different picking poles, and this is our favorite solution. It's highly effective and costs less than any commercially available fruit picking pole.
Step 1: Introduction
In the interest of full disclosure, we use about 250 fruit picking poles. Three years ago, we bought one hundred Mr. LongArm poles. When Mr. LongArm found out about our work, they contacted us, and they are now one of our supporters and have generously donated 125 poles to the project. The poles that you see here are a gift of Mr. LongArm.
Watch video of poles in action (above)
Step 2: Materials List
Note: If you plan to use this pole to harvest fruit from one or two trees, simply attach the fruit picking basket to the pole using the provided hose clamp. You do not need to tape the pole, use two hose clamps or screw the picking basket to the pole. If you are a heavy user, then follow these instructions for a headache free solution.
1 Mr. LongArm 3208 Pro-Pole (see note below)
1 Ace Fruit Picker Head TR20090
4 Inches of Pipe Wrap Tape
2 Hose clamps 3/4" to 1 3/4" Corrosion Resistant
(one hose clamp is provided with the basket)
1 8-18X3/4 Self Drilling Screw
1 Power Drill
Mr. LongArm makes a series of extending poles that start at 2 ft and goes up to poles that extend to15 ft and more. We have tested poles at various lengths and found that for our use 3208 which extends from 4 to 8 ft, is most effective. When fruit picking poles get longer than 8 ft, aiming and hooking the fruit becomes frustrating.
Step 3: Sew the Foam to Fruit Picking Basket
Unless you are a heavy user of fruit picking pole, you can skip this step.
For detailed instructions watch this video (available May 1, 2016).
Step 4: Tape the Neck
Wrap the Pipe Wrap Tape around the neck of the pole 3 or 4 times.
Step 5: Add Hose Clamp
Add two hose clamps to the basket. Make sure:
1) both screws are facing the same direction and
2) clamps are above the ring ridge of the basket.
Step 6: Tighten Hose Clamps
Tighten hose clamps, one near the top of the pole, and one near the end of basket handle
Step 7: Screw Basket to the Pole
Attach the basket to the pole using the listed screw.
Important: The screw must be drilled where the two halves of the basket meet.