Pecans are mature and ready for harvest when the hull starts to split open and the shells of the nut have turned brown. Begin harvesting pecans once you are able to easily remove the hulls from the shells. The typical season for harvesting pecans is in the fall, beginning in late September and continuing through November.
In years where the temperatures are unseasonably warm, you can remove the hulls before the shell has completely browned; wait to harvest these nuts until the shell has completely browned to ensure the nut has fully matured.
Since pecans do not readily drop from trees like many other nuts, they can be left on the tree and harvested during winter months. However, the longer harvesting is delayed, the more the quality of the nut decreases. Delaying a harvest also increases the chance of losing nuts to birds such as scrub jays, therefore decreasing your yield.
Although pecans do not drop readily from their trees, some may fall as they mature. The longer a pecan is left on the ground, the more is becomes susceptible to mold and infestations, resulting in a decline in the quality of the nut. Gather fallen nuts every day or two to avoid these issues.