Whether you have a single cherry tree in your backyard or a whole grove of trees, the process of harvesting trees can seem daunting. The average cherry tree produces up to 50 quarts of cherries, many of which are on high branches. This means balancing ladders and navigating your way through the tree, a process that can be dangerous if you step the wrong way.
It doesn’t have to be that difficult! The right tool can take your gardening to the next level, allowing you to harvest all your fruit quickly and easily. In this guide, we’re going to look at a variety of different tools and help you to find the best cherry picking tool for you and your garden.
The Backyard Boss Top Cherry Picking Tools for 2021
|HANZIUP Fruit Picker Basket Head||Check The Price!|
|TIHOOD Fruit Picker Basket Head||Check The Price!|
|Fiskars Extendable Fruit Picker||Check The Price!|
|ZGYFJCH Garden Silicone Thumb Knife||Check The Price!|
|UpBloom Harvesting and Weeding Apron for Gardeners||Check The Price!|
Why You Can Trust Us
Here at Backyard Boss, we share a love for all things related to gardening, including the many tools that help us to complete our gardening tasks quickly and easily. Personally, I have a large garden in my yard along with a variety of different container gardening options, all containing fruits and vegetables that my husband and I can enjoy. This includes growing our own fruit!
We have had the opportunity to experiment with different tools and solutions for leveling up our gardening, discovering firsthand what works and what doesn’t. We have combined our knowledge of gardening and fruit picker tools along with research and the reviews of other customers to discover and share the best tools available.
Best Overall Cherry Picker Tool
Why We Like It: Made from lightweight plastic, this fruit picker basket and catcher makes it easy to harvest cherries from all areas of your cherry trees including the highest and hardest to reach branches. It’s equipped with an easy-to-install connector to mount it on the handle of your choice. However, the handle required isn’t included.
Hook the cherries with the teeth of the basket and gently pull, removing the cherries from the tree branch. They will then fall into the included basket. The basket portion is spaced carefully to accommodate smaller fruit, unlike many similar fruit picker tools, allowing it to catch and hold cherries securely.
Who Should Buy It: The simple design of this fruit picker and collector is a great choice for anyone searching for an easy-to-use and all-encompassing tool.
Best Value Cherry Picker Tool
Why We Like It: Another product that uses the basic fruit picker and collector design, the TIHOOD Fruit Picker Basket Head harvests cherries from the tree using the stainless steel teeth, while the attached purified cotton back collect them safely. The spacing between the teeth of the tool is slightly too large for small fruit like cherries, however, the reviews from other consumers reveal that simply bending the teeth inward towards the center of the tool will solve this problem.
The tool allows you to reach fruit on even the highest branches of the tree; however, it does not come with the handle required to use it in this capacity. In addition to the fruit picker basket head, this tool also comes with a pair of gloves to protect your hands during the harvesting process.
Who Should Buy It: If you’re looking for a low-cost tool option for picking cherries, the TIHOOD Fruit Picker Basket Head is a great solution.
Best Extendable Cherry Picker Tool
Why We Like It: The Fiskars Extendable Fruit Picker is an all-encompassing cherry picker tool, with everything that you need to harvest cherries quickly and efficiently. The durable telescoping fiberglass pole can be adjusted from 6.6 ft. to 12 ft., allowing you to harvest from the hard-to-reach branches at the top of the tree.
The fruit picker basket itself includes FiberComp tabs that gently remove the ripe cherries from the branches, allowing them to fall into the attached washable mesh bag. The bag allows you to see exactly how many cherries have been collected. It can be removed for cleaning and replacements are available through the company if needed.
Who Should Buy It: The Fiskars Extendable Fruit Picker is a great solution for those that are willing to pay a little more for an all-encompassing and reliable tool.
Best Thumb Knife
Why We Like It: An alternative to the traditional fruit picker basket, a thumb knife allows you to pick cherries quickly and easily by cutting the stem free from the tree. The silicone thumb tool fits comfortably onto your thumb for use over an extended time. The package includes 2 different thumb knives, two protective forefinger sleeves, and a storage bag to hold everything together.
Unlike bulky harvesting tools, this simple thumb knife can easily be thrown into your pocket while heading out to do your gardening. This means that it’s on hand and ready to use at any point. It’s also multi-functional, able to assist you with harvesting a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. The only setback with this specific tool is that you have to be able to reach the cherries to harvest them.
Who Should Buy It: Gardeners that prefer harvesting their cherries by hand will enjoy the assistance of this low-cost and easy-to-use cherry picker tool.
Best Harvesting Apron
This 100% cotton canvas harvesting and weeding apron offers a large capacity to collect cherries during the process of harvesting.
Why We Like It: If you’re using a cutting tool like the thumb knife featured above, the UpBloom Harvesting and Weeding Apron for Gardeners is a great solution for collecting and storing your cherries until you’re ready to empty your harvest into a larger basket or bin. The large canvas fill pouch has two hooks to make it easy to secure or release as required to free up space.
The apron is a ‘one size fits most’ option, which means that it may not be suitable for some gardeners. The included quick-release belt can be adjusted to accommodate a waist up to 42”. Unlike other gardening aprons or harvesting buckets, this specific apron allows you to support the weight with your hips as opposed to the neck, avoiding unnecessary pain and injury.
Who Should Buy It: This harvesting and weeding apron is a great choice for gardeners that are using a harvesting tool that doesn’t include a basket for collecting to speed up the harvesting process.
Types of Cherry Pickers
If you are searching for the best tools to harvest cherries, there are a few different options to consider. Each tool type is designed to work best in a specific situation, meaning that you may need to invest in more than one to fully complete the job. Before your cherries are in season this summer, take some time to consider the following options.
Large commercial operations and orchards may use commercial pickers that are designed to harvest large volumes of cherries as quickly and efficiently as possible. These large units come with a high price tag and are often big and bulky. For this reason, they’re often not a feasible option for hobby farmers or smaller family farmers.
When the farmers pull up the cherry tree, a large tarp extends which surrounds the base of the cherry tree. The machine then shakes the tree, releasing the cherries. They fall down onto the tarp, which is then reeled back into the machine, bringing all of the harvested cherries with it.
Long Handled and Basket Pickers
Basket pickers, more commonly referred to as fruit pickers are tools designed to make it easier for you to harvest fruit from the upper branches of the tree. At the top of the basket, teeth or tabs hook the fruit allowing you to gently pull it free from the branches. The fruit will then fall into a basket or bag that is attached underneath for the purpose of collection.
The basket picker can be mounted on a fixed or telescopic handle, which determines the height that you can reach. When selecting a handle, be sure to consider the weight that you’re adding to the tool. If it’s too heavy, it can lead to fatigue from repetitive use.
Scissors and Shears
Cherries that are growing on the lower branches are often harvested by hand. You can handpick your cherries by simply twisting the stems to remove the fruit from the branches. However, this process can take a long time. If you’re looking for a quick and cost-effective option to speed up the process slightly, a pair of sharp scissors or shears can cut several cherry stems at once. Just be cautious as to how you’re catching the cherries after they’ve been cut free to avoid bruising or damaging the fruit.
An alternative to scissors, thumb knives are small, convenient, and often underrated tools for gardening. The knife is mounted on the end of a silicone gardening fingertip device that is placed on your thumb, and a safety sleeve is worn on the forefinger. To use the cutting blade, pinch the stem between your thumb and forefinger, pushing the blade into the stem towards the safety sleeve.
Harvesting with a thumb knife will require that you harvest one cherry at a time, which isn’t as quick as some of the other options on the list. However, the small convenient size saves you from juggling larger tools, making it a great choice for hobby gardeners with a limited amount of harvesting to complete.
Cherry Baskets and Gardening Aprons
After removing your cherries from the tree, you will want to collect them somewhere safe to avoid damage to the fruit. Two popular options are wearable baskets and gardening/harvesting aprons.
Wearable fruit baskets are plastic, silicone, or bamboo baskets attached to a wearable strap. They’re designed to loop around your neck, hanging in front of your body for easy access. While they’re convenient, if you’re collecting a large number of cherries, the weight can cause pain or discomfort in the neck. They’re also not recommended for anyone with back pain as they require the back and neck to support the full weight of your harvest.
Gardening and harvesting aprons come in two main varieties. The first is worn around the neck like the fruit baskets. However, waist aprons are designed to use your hips to support the weight of your harvest, taking the pressure off the neck area. They include a ‘one-size-fits-all’ adjustable waistband that will fit more gardeners. Unfortunately, they may not fit everyone.
Cherry Picking Tips and Facts
When Is Cherry Season?
Cherries are a summer fruit; however, each variety of cherries will have a slightly different optimal harvest time. Additionally, your location can impact the harvest date. Those that are growing cherries in warmer, southern areas like California may experience a harvest season that lasts from mid-April until early June. Meanwhile, those in the Northwest including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Montana will experience cherry season from early June until the end of August.
Pay Attention to the Color
If you’re picking sweet cherries to eat fresh, you can predict the taste of your cherries by paying careful attention to the color. If you prefer a sweeter-tasting cherry, choose the darker colored cherries. Meanwhile, the more sour or tart cherries will be a lighter red.
The biggest cause of bruising in cherries is the handling of the fruit itself by fruit pickers. During the process of harvesting the cherry, try to touch only the stem of the cherry, not the actual cherry itself. If you’re using a basket or container to collect your cherries after harvesting, you should hold the container no more than 12 inches under the cherries, when removing them from the branch. This allows them to land in the container safely without unnecessary bruising.
Don’t Remove the Stems
The fastest way to harvest cherries is to remove them from the tree without the stem as the fruit is easily pulled free. This is a great option if you’re planning to use your cherries immediately in baking or simply as a snack. However, keeping the stem on the cherry will keep your fruit fresh longer as it doesn’t break the skin where the stem is attached. Even if you’re only planning on holding onto your cherries for a couple of days, keeping the stems on is the best practice.
Avoid Direct Sunlight
After removing cherries from the tree, avoid leaving them in the sunshine, if possible. Freshly picked cherries need to be kept cool and placed into a refrigerator as soon as one is available. During the harvesting process, keep all cherries in a shaded area.
Wait to Wash Cherries
Your first instinct upon getting home with your cherries may be to wash them before storing them away in your refrigerator. However, washing fruit encourages it to spoil faster than it would if stored unwashed. This is largely due to the added moisture. Instead, dry your cherries thoroughly and wait to wash them when you’re ready to eat.
How We Picked
With a wide variety of different tools available to assist gardeners in harvesting their cherry trees, we had many tools to chose from. In order to create our list, we looked at the quality, ease of use, price point, and functionality of the various tools. This allowed us to narrow our list down to the tools that offered the greatest value.
From here, we took the time to review the many customer reviews, considering the experience of other gardening fanatics. We combined this with the experience of the Backyard Boss team to select the top 5 products.
The Top Cherry Picking Tool Is…
While the best tool for harvesting cherries will depend on your unique situation, there is one tool that stood out above the rest. The low price combined with the simple and effective design of the HANZIUP Fruit Picker Basket Head can be used by hand for lower branches or using a handle for the top branches. By using a single tool that both harvests and collects the fruit, it helps you to speed up the process while cutting down on the gear that you need to carry.
Before selecting the best tool for you, take the time to consider the size of your cherry tree(s), the number of cherries that you will be harvesting, and any injuries or pain points that you need to accommodate. We believe that you will be happy with any of the products highlighted in this guide.