Get A Leg Up On Apple Picking With An Orchard Ladder

An orchard ladder is specially designed for safety and efficiency while picking apples or other fruit in the orchard. Here's what you should know.

by Hobby Farms HQ
PHOTO: courtesy Tallman Ladders

Although orchard ladders are very stable when used as intended, be aware of the usage limitations. As with any task, there is the right tool for the job at hand. An orchard ladder is designed for orchard and landscape maintenance use, where it’s used on soil or turf-type surfaces.

The feet and pole typically don’t have rubber feet and can’t be used on hard surfaces such as floors, concrete, pavement, etc. 

“There also is not a spreader bar between the main frame of the ladder and the third leg (pole) to keep it from spreading,” according to Tallman Ladders. “All three points that come in contact with the ground depend on slight penetration of the turf or soil to remain stable.”

Read more: Need to clean up an old orchard? Here are some tips for pruning and rejuvenating old apple trees.

Orchard Ladder Tips

With that in mind, the company recommends the following safety precautions when using an orchard ladder. 

  • Inspect your ladder upon receipt and before each use. Check to see that all rivets and parts are tight. Never use a damaged, bent or broken ladder.
  • Don’t use around energized electrical equipment. Aluminum conducts electricity.
  • Don’t overload. Ladders are designed for one person only. 
  • Do position your orchard ladder properly. Steps should be level (rails at 72 degrees), and the third leg straight out from center line of ladder on level ground. For hillside use, the third leg should be placed uphill. For cross sloping ground, adjust the third leg slightly down slope for greater stability.
  • Don’t overreach and lose your balance. Move the ladder closer to your work if you can’t keep your belt buckle area between rails.
  • Don’t sit on top of a ladder or stand on the top two steps.
  • Destroy the ladder if it is exposed to fire, high heat or strong chemicals. Tempered aluminum alloy will lose strength if exposed to the above.

This article originally appeared in the September/October 2022 issue of Hobby Farms magazine.

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