Harvesting pecans can be a tedious task, but with these tips, homeowners can ease the burden and keep more delicious pecans for their own consumption. When the nuts fall to the ground, one must either bend-over or use some type of tool to gather them. As the nuts fall off the tree for approximately a three-week period versus a one-time drop, it is important to gather the pecans every day. Finally, a portion of the nuts remain in the husk which are attached to the tree’s branches and must be shaken or hit with a large stick to dislodge and collect them. Additionally, competition is fierce for these tasty nuts with squirrels, deer, and turkey helping themselves at every opportunity. If not thwarted, crows are the number one culprit and consume approximately 15% of a one tree’s harvestable nuts.
A good recommendation for making pecans easier to gather includes keeping the grass mowed as short as possible under the trees at the onset of nut drop. This allows one to easily see the nuts and collect them daily to ward off competition from wildlife. Pecans that remain in contact with the ground for long periods have the potential to rot; therefore, collecting the nuts on a daily basis will help with this issue. Low turf heights will make the use of any pecan collecting tool easier than bending over and picking the nuts up by hand. After each harvest, store pecans in a cool dry place off the floor or other areas that may contain moisture to avoid rotting. The best way to preserve pecans is to place them while still in the shell in plastic freezer storage bags and keep them frozen until time to use them.
For more information see, HGIC 1356, Pecan Planting & Fertilization, HGIC1362, FAQs About Pecan Production in the Home Garden, and HGIC 2213, Reasons for Poor-Quality Pecans