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I love this time of year. The heat of summer is gone and pecan harvest begins. Though we won’t actually begin shaking trees until the middle of October here are some of the things we are watching in the orchard right now.

These clusters have reached full maturity.

Any day a hormone inside the trees will trigger the green shucks to split open revealing the nuts inside.

When this happens the ripening process is complete and the kernels inside are as full as they are going to get.

In this picture you can see the means by which the shucks delivered nutrients and water to the kernel inside. A network of vessels run along the surface of the shells and enter the nuts at the base. Think of it as a mat of umbilical cords all entering the nut at one spot.

Once the shuck splits open these vessels dry out and the shucks turn black. When most of the nuts on the trees have opened up like this we begin the harvest process.

Here is a picture of the mature kernel. There is very little space remaining to be filled. This is a top grade nut.

Next month I’ll show you each stage of the harvest process.


Andy Sherrod

Orchard Manager, Royalty Pecan Farms