The tastiest fruit ripens on the tree, but commercial farmers often pick before peak ripeness for more efficient shipping to grocery stores across the country. If you have your own fruit trees, you can maximize a tasty harvest by catching ripened fruit that falls in its own time. A collection tarp helps prevent injury and some types of insect infestations. Gather promptly to protect the fruits of your labor from deer, raccoons and other animals.

Peaches on the tree
credit: kvitkafabian/iStock/Getty Images
Tree-ripened fruit that falls can bruise or be eaten by bugs or animals.

Step 1

Purchase a plastic tarp. If possible get a white tarp. The white color helps reflect sunlight to ripen shaded fruit.

Step 2

Position the tarp around the trunk of the fruit tree. Attach the tarp to the tree with a bungee cord or rope.

Step 3

Stake the tarp to the ground with long metal stakes. Hammer the stakes through the grommet holes in the tarp.

Step 4

Lift up the edges of the tarp to the top of the stake and tie to a tree limb with rope. Position the tarp to be slightly off the ground and sloped toward the middle.

Step 5

Place the lowest part of the tarp, if possible, under a limb with little to no fruit to prevent fruit from falling too far. Poke small holes in the lowest part of the tarp to release rain water.