Before you shake that pecan tree to get fresh nuts for holiday pies and dishes, make sure it isn’t on someone’s property.
In Georgia, taking pecans from privately owned trees during harvest season is illegal. “Taking,” the law states, includes picking them off the tree, shaking the tree to make the nuts fall and picking them up from the ground, even if they’re on a public road.
According to Georgia code 44-12-241:
(a) When pecan trees are grown on private property and the branches of the trees extend over public roads, streets, or highway rights of way, any pecans falling from any such pecan trees onto the public rights of way shall be the property of the owner of the pecan trees until the end of the harvesting season; and it shall be unlawful for any person to remove the pecans from any public rights of way during the harvesting season without the permission of the owner of the trees.
(b) It shall be unlawful for any person, without the permission of the owner of pecan trees grown on private property, to pick or otherwise remove any pecans from the limbs or branches of the trees or to cause pecans to fall from the trees.
(c) Any person who violates this Code section shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
Harvest season began Oct. 1 and runs through the end of the year.
If you find any pecans on Jan. 1, however, feel free to go nuts. Georgia code 44-12-242 states: “Any pecans remaining on public roads, streets, or highway rights of way during any portion of the calendar year except the harvesting season shall be deemed to be abandoned by the owner of the pecans; and it shall not be unlawful for any person to remove such pecans from such public rights of way.”
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