TRAVIS COUNTY, Texas - A big demand for live Christmas trees has forced one local supplier to suspend cutting operations.
The decision to cut off the cutting of trees came Monday morning, just before Alex and Tammy Walker arrived at the Elgin Christmas tree farm.
"Getting a tree from here is a family tradition. So every year for 26 years. Yeah since 1990," said the Walkers.
But this year the Walkers had to take a break from the tradition and settle on a tree that was shipped in.
"Are you a little disappointed you couldn’t chop it down? Yes, because they are fresh we know when they are cut. These are from North Carolina, they say they are a few days old but I don’t know if they really know. But I do like the shape of the firs better," said the Walkers.
Farm owner Marc Nash said he caps the cutting of live pines on his land when they reach 5,000 sales. He hit that point not long few after Thanksgiving.
"We work to sustain, we stay about the same number of trees every year, that way each year we can open up and sell trees. This year with everything coming so fast, we've never been in this situation where on December 4th we've reach that point where are fields that we have to cut is bare there is not much left there," said Nash.
From SkyFox drone you can see the area where this year’s crop was cut the view from above even surprised Nash. Heavy rains four years ago hurt growth in another section that Nash had planned to use to supplement sales.
The sections with trees still on them are for 2018 and 2019 cutting them now is not an option. Nash had to post signs and even at times send out employees to guard these smaller trees.
Protecting all the small trees, keeping them off limits required Nash to have a backup plan. That plan involved shipping in trees from out of state, but the nationwide tree shortage has limited just how many he can buy.
"We've brought in these fraser firs, we've got a lot of big nice pretty trees, left and like you said we will sale these until the supply runs out," said Nash.
The farm still has a lot of holiday activities available. There is a petting zoo, hay rides and this corn maze to navigate; along with a few other obstacle courses on site.
"We are going to be changing our hours, to a modified hour so we don’t see a need to be open as many hours for that," said Nash.
Nash is now looking to next year and is working on a plan to handle another sales rush.