When it comes to trimming, training, and harvesting your fruit trees, nothing gives you a better leg up — literally — than an orchard ladder.
“Leg” is the key word here. Orchard ladders have three legs rather than four, as well as a flared base that resembles the Eiffel Tower. The self-supporting design allows all three feet to make firm contact with the ground, even when the ladder is perched on uneven surfaces like ditches and slopes. This makes orchard ladders one of the most ideal tools for orchard work.
When it comes to selecting the right orchard ladder for your operation, consider the height of your trees and your fellow growers. The ladders can be as short as six feet or as tall as 16, and many of them offer a telescoping feature that allows the user to fine-tune the height even further. The taller the ladder, the more expensive the cost, with quality aluminum orchard ladders starting around $350 and climbing beyond $1,000 for deluxe, 16-foot ladders with telescoping capabilities. Shipping costs for orchard ladders can be expensive — often even more expensive than the ladder itself — but California growers are in luck, since the majority of orchard ladder manufacturers are on the West Coast. Visit of our Fruit Growers Supply centers for more information.
Proper Orchard Ladder Use
As you climb up an orchard ladder, your weight is directed downward and outward. This helps sink both legs and the tripod pole into the ground, which provides increased stability on uneven terrain. You shouldn’t use orchard ladders and standard ladders interchangeably, though. After all, orchard ladders don’t have a spreader bar or other mechanism to provide stability. They’re meant to be used outside, in coordination with the ground itself!
Safety Tips For Using Orchard Ladders
Improper ladder use can damage not only the ladder itself, but also the operator. Falls can be fatal. To avoid injury, follow these tips:
- Maintain and routinely inspect your ladders to ensure their operability. Retire any 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. 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, which will provide the best balance and stability.
- Shake or lightly jump on the bottom step to ensure your ladder is stable. You want the three legs to sink slightly into the ground, but you also want to ensure you’re not positioned above a hole or soft spot in the soil that may cause the ladder to sink or lurch to one side once 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. If you need more height, consider buying a taller ladder!
- Know where your tools are located, and always carry them with the sharp ends facing away from you in case you fall.
- Move the ladder whenever you need to access new areas of fruit trees. Don’t overreach while harvesting or pruning. Trust us: your well-being is worth the time it takes to climb down and reposition the ladder.
- Don’t overfill your produce bags, as this can interfere with your balance and make a fall more likely.
- Don’t climb or move ladders in poor weather conditions like heavy rains or high winds.
Products To Fit Your Needs
At Fruit Growers Supply, we have the supplies you need. It’s even in our name! We also have more than 100 years of experience helping growers like you. Our competitive prices and exceptional customer service will ensure you are connected with the products and solutions you need, including orchard ladders. 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.