How to Know When Your Fruit Trees Are Ready to Pick


Many types of fruit grow on trees across the United States. Apples, pears, peaches, apricots, cherries, oranges and others are grown in many home gardens. As your trees fill with fruit, you need to be sure to harvest it before the birds and squirrels do. While different types of fruit ripen at different times, from summer peaches to fall apples, all fruits show similar signs of maturity that tell you when they are ready to pick.

Step 1

Harvest fruit in the morning before it is too warm out, according to the University of Illinois.

Step 2

Check to see if any full-sized fruit fell from the tree on its own. This is a good indication the fruit is ready to be picked.

Step 3

Twist the fruit on its stem. If it separates from the branch easily it is mature and ready to be picked.

Step 4

Squeeze soft fruits like peaches, apricots and plums gently. If they give under your fingers they are ready to be harvested.

Step 5

Look at the color of the fruit. As fruit ripens it will change from its original color to a different color in most cases. For example, green apples may turn yellow or red while peaches turn from green to reddish-orange.

Step 6

Check the color and taste of citrus fruit before picking it. The citrus fruit should have no green and the flavor should be sweet, or as sweet as possible in the case of limes and lemons, according to the University of Alabama.

Step 7

Place all of your harvested fruit into the basket and store it in a cool location.

Things You'll Need

  • Basket
  • Ladder (if needed)


  • Universtiy of Illinios: Harvesting Fruit
  • University of Alabama: Harvesting and Handling Fruit
Keywords: harvest fruit, whens fruit ready, pick fruit

About this Author

Hollan Johnson is a freelance writer for many online publications including Garden Guides and eHow. She is also a contributing editor for Brighthub. She has been writing freelance since 2008 and her interests are travel, gardening, sewing, and Mac computers. Prior to freelance writing, Johnson taught English in Japan. Johnson has a Bachelor of Arts in linguistics from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada.