A good ladder is a necessity if you have fruit trees, whether its just a few in the yard or an entire orchard's worth. Tripod aluminum ladders are the standard in orchards. Instead of a standard folding ladder, tripod ladders have a narrow post for the opposing leg. This allows the ladder to be easily manipulated into position so you can set it up near the tree trunk.
Stability is the main requirement for any orchard ladder. When fully opened and set up, the ladder should wobble or sway. Test every ladder first on level ground to make sure that all legs sit flush to the ground when the ladder is fully deployed. A ladder that has stability issues on level ground will have even less stability when it is used out in the field on uneven soil.
2. Sinking Prevention
You don't want the tripod or ladder-side legs to sink into the soil deeply when it use. Not only does this compromise stability, but soil can collect inside the legs and make the ladder heavy or cause damage. Check that the bottom of each leg contact point has a plate in place to prevent soil from compacting inside the leg. The plate may be slightly wider than the leg bottom, as this helps distribute weight on the ladder so the legs don't sink.
3. Ease of Transport
A good orchard ladder needs to be moved around a lot so that you can reach every side of the tree without much strain. That means the ladder must be lightweight and slim enough so that it can be quickly folded and tucked horizontally under the arm. Although you can find orchard ladders made of a variety of materials, including wood, a tripod aluminum ladder is the better choice because it is the most lightweight option.
4. Moisture Resistance
Aluminum is a good choice for another reason — it is relatively unaffected by moisture. It's naturally resistant to rust and corrosion. It also won't rot, unlike wooden ladders. Aluminum ladders can be stored outside, near the harvest area, for the entire picking season without any fear of damage.
5. Safety Mechanisms
Every good ladder must be equipped for safety. This means that the extension arms between the ladder and the tripod should lock into place so that the ladder doesn't collapse during use. Steps should also feature anti-slip texturing so that one is stable when climbing or standing on the ladder.
The perfect tripod aluminum ladder is a safe addition to your orchard that will make harvesting all the easier. Look for a tripod ladder that's 16 ft tall or a similar height.