Tripod ladders, fruit picking ladders, orchard ladders — whatever you choose to call them, they’re an essential tool in the field of your fruit growing operation. With non-slip rungs and a tapered design to minimize damage to the trees, they are specially designed for orchard work, including harvesting fruit and pruning and training trees. The tripod design provides stability in the field, where uneven terrain could spell trouble for anyone on a ladder. They are typically made of aluminum, though historically they were made from wood, and you can find some plastic options, too. Like every tool, there are multiple options on the market, different considerations when selecting one, and right and wrong ways to use it.
Fortunately for California growers, most orchard ladder manufacturers are on the West Coast, so you’ll have an easier time getting your hands on one, especially if you work with one of Fruit Growers Supply’s centers. Shipping costs for orchard ladders can be more expensive than the ladder itself, so this is a distinct benefit in your geographical favor.
Options And Pricing For Orchard Ladders
When selecting a new orchard ladder, keep in mind the height of your trees and the individual worker. Tripod ladders can range from about six to 16 feet. Some ladders have a telescoping feature, meaning you can adjust the height within a range. Larger ladders and ladders with more features will cost slightly more. The price range is about $350 to $1000 for quality aluminum orchard ladders, where $350 will get you a shorter ladder, and $1000 ladders tend to be 15 or 16 feet and have telescoping capabilities. Visit or call your local Fruit Grower’s Supply center to learn what options are available to you and will fit your needs.
Proper Orchard Ladder Use
Orchard ladders should not be used with standard ladders interchangeably. They are self-supporting ladders, and the tripod base is designed for soft or uneven ground use. Unlike other ladders, orchard ladders do not have a spreader bar or other mechanism to provide stability. Both legs and the tripod pole should sink slightly into the ground to provide stability.
Top 10 Safety Tips For Using Orchard Ladders
Every year, many orchard workers are injured when using ladders. Strains and sprains can occur when moving or placing a ladder, but by far, the most serious concern is falls. As with any tool, proper use is the best way to prevent injury. And given the serious and potentially fatal nature of ladder falls, you’ll want to do everything possible to prevent these types of injuries.
- Maintain and routinely inspect your ladders and make sure they’re operable. Retire ladders that are no longer serviceable, such as ones with cracks in the tripod leg.
- Use proper body mechanics when lifting or moving a ladder (and please, only carry one at a time!). A balanced shoulder carry is recommended for one person or a horizontal carry with two people.
- If you must place your ladder on a slope, make sure you position the tripod pole uphill.
- Shake or lightly jump on the bottom step to ensure your ladder is stable and not positioned on a hole or soft spot in the soil that might cause the ladder to sink or lurch suddenly to one side when you’re climbing.
- Like any ladder, use the three-points-of-contact rule when climbing up or down, and never stand on the top cap of the ladder. Staying off the top three steps is the safest option.
- Mind where your tools are, and always carry them with the sharp ends facing away from you in case you fall.
- Move the ladder when you need to; don’t overreach while harvesting or pruning to avoid climbing down and repositioning the ladder.
- Don’t overfill your produce bags and interfere with your balance.
- Don’t climb or move ladders in poor weather conditions like heavy rains or high winds.
- Do your work from a stable position on the ladder. Don’t climb onto or use a tree branch for balance. Reposition your ladder if you need to adjust your balance.
And naturally, everyone using an orchard ladder should be trained in how to maintain, move, and safely use one.
Products To Fit Your Needs
At Fruit Growers Supply, we have over 100 years of experience helping growers like you. We’re easy to work with and can provide flexible solutions for your fruit production operations. When you work with our industry professionals, you can feel confident in your purchases. Every name-brand product we sell has been vetted, and is backed by a manufacturer guarantee. Our competitive prices and exceptional customer service will ensure you are connected with the products and solutions you need. Have questions or want to learn more about what options we carry? Give us a call or stop by one of our supply centers today.