Harvest the fruits of your labor when you remove the fruit from your own trees. Growing your own fruit trees allows you to let fruits ripen on the tree for the fullest flavor. But before picking fruit for eating, you will need to remove some of the early fruit as it first appears. This "thinning" increases the size and quality of your final fruit. Most fruit trees, such as stone and pome fruits, benefit from thinning. Depending on your fruit tree size, you might not need a ladder or pole for thinning or harvesting. Small and dwarf varieties of trees allow gardeners of almost any size to remove fruit from fruit trees by hand from the ground instead of a ladder.
Thin out the clusters of fruit on your trees by pulling off young fruit between ½ inch and 1 inch from the tree, leaving one to two fruits per cluster for pome fruits such as apples. Pick stone fruits off trees to space them at least 3 to 5 inches apart, or so the fully grown fruits will not touch. Discard the young fruit removed from the tree.
Access the fruit for thinning on large trees by climbing a ladder and picking the fruit by hand. Leave the stem attached to the branch. Alternatively, use a pole to knock fruit of the tree for thinning. Wrap a piece of duct tape around the end of a pole and use the taped end to hit the fruit off the tree you want to remove.
Wait for your variety of fruit to mature before harvest. Consult a master gardener or the place where you purchased your fruit tree if you do not know the maturity time of your fruit tree. Look for a change in the fruit from green to a brighter color, based on the type of tree.
Grasp the stem of the fruit with your thumb and forefinger and gently twist and pull the fruit off the stem with your other hand to prevent damage to the branch and future crops.
Harvest all the mature fruit for consumption, leaving some fruit on the tree for local birds and wildlife if desired.