If you want to add fruit trees to your yard, make a “heading cut” when you plant them to keep the trees small. This prevents them from growing too tall for you to reach.
Image from Kelly Sikkema
At the shorter height, you’ll be able to pick the fruit and prune the tree without a ladder. As Ann Ralph mentions in an interview with Sunset, you must make this cut during the first year — ideally when you plant the tree. It may feel like you’re cutting it down to nothing, but that’s what you want — so when it grows, the fruit hangs low enough to reach. She also points out that this technique is best suited for deciduous fruit trees such as apple trees. For more information on how to properly execute this technique, check out the full post linked below.