How to Harvest Date Palm Fruit

Overview

Date palms produce 1- to 3-inch-long sweet fruits that hang from the trees in long strands. Ripening in midsummer, each tree produces an abundance of ripe fruit. You can reap the bounty from your palms even if you only have one or two landscaping trees or are growing potted pygmy date palms. The palms are naturally pollinated by wind and insects as long as there are both male and female trees nearby. Proper harvesting ensures the fruit is picked at its ripest.

Step 1

Wrap the date bunches once they reach yellow or red in color so that any early ripening dates are caught before they fall to the ground. Wrap the bunches in a piece of bird netting or other strong, breathable fabric mesh.

Step 2

Cut down the bunch once most of the dates have darkened and begun turning brown. Cut through the thick stalk that holds the strands of fruit to the tree with a pruning saw. Remove the netting.

Step 3

Hold the date bunch over a large tub and shake it vigorously. Ripe dates break loose from the bunch and land in the tub. Remove any ripe dates from the netting and place these in the tub.

Step 4

Pick the remaining unripened dates from the strands and spread these out in a single layer on a tray or in a shallow box. Place the box in a warm area that does not receive direct sunlight. The dates should finish ripening within one week.

Tips and Warnings

  • Tall trees may require special ladders or equipment to reach the dates, such as a cherry picker.

Things You'll Need

  • Netting
  • Pruning saw
  • Tub
  • Box

References

  • University of Georgia: Dates
  • University of California, Davis Extension: Harvest and Postharvest Handling of Dates
Keywords: harvesting date palms, picking date fruits, date palm trees

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.