Action 299: Manage your fruit windfall

windfall applesDate: 26 October
Action: 299
Cost of taking action: £/$/€ NIL


Managing your fruit windfall can help in several ways

Today’s action is to think about your windfall fruit; how can it be minimised, and what’s the best way to use what does fall?

Of course, edible fruit that is undamaged from the fall can still be eaten. Should be eaten, in fact, as locally grown food has the lowest carbon footprint of all, and fresh fruit from your own garden is always good.

But for non-edible or damaged fruit that has fallen, don’t worry about trying to completely clean up your garden, there are a few options even then. For example, just leaving some can help to sustain local ecosystems by providing nutrients for insects, birds, mice and hedgehogs, amongst others.

Tips for reducing windfall

Of course, making good use of your fruit in the first place is best, so if you can:

  • plan fruit picking properly, as well as cooking activities alongside it such as jam-making, creating apple sauce, making pie fillings, and so on
  • pick fruit as it ripens and have a continual supply of the best in your fruit bowl
  • get your children involved in spotting ready-to-eat fruit!
  • consider offering fruit to your family and neighbours – perhaps they are more inclined to spend time preparing and cooking it
  • look at alternative uses such as making cider
  • build up stocks of fruit sauces in your freezer

Using windfall

Try to avoid simply raking up windfall and throwing it in the bins, even the garden waste collection bin if you have one. Instead:

  • check the quality of the windfall, many will still be edible or usable in your cooking
  • look at some alternative uses ,for example at this link
  • some fruit can be composted, but keep the balance of your composter right
  • if you have large quantities, might a local farmer take them for livestock feed?
  • leave some windfall on the ground, to support local wildlife
  • decaying windfall will also provide the tree itself with nutrients via the soil, a natural cycle
  • bin windfall fruit only as a last resort


If you leave windfall for wildlife, there are a couple of things to think about:

  • do keep the amount proportionate, if there is a lot of windfall you’ll need to clear some!
  • if fruit has been brought down by pest or disease, it is best to compost or destroy the fruit if you can
  • research this first depending on the pest or disease involved
  • if fruit starts to ferment, remove it before the alcohol starts to intoxicate your garden residents

Take action

Think about doing what you can to reduce windfall waste. Limiting windfall in the first place is best, by using your fruit, but there are also things to think about as regards the fruit on the ground – make a sensible decision about what to try and consume, what to destroy or compost, and what to leave.

Advantages of doing this

Avoiding wasted fruit has the following advantages:

  • can help to sustain local ecosystems
  • reduces food waste contributing to landfill
  • fresh fruit has the lowest carbon footprint
  • you won’t be buying fruit in plastic packaging
  • reduces your food bills