About Mary Kay Pope

Mary Kay is an asset to Backbone and a wealth of knowledge! Many customers come in and ask for her by name for all their plant questions. It's no wonder why, as Mary Kay has 43 years of experience in the horticulture field. She holds a B.S. in Horticulture from Ohio State University, and a TMCNP and a TCLP from Texas Association of Nurserymen, and a Specialist in Urban Trees Certification from Texas A&M.

Asparagus Planting Guide

Asparagus Planting Plant asparagus roots or crowns in late winter/early spring (January-February in Central Texas). Prepare beds with heavy amounts of compost and organic fertilizer. We recommend using a mycorrhizal root inoculant (MicroLife 6-2-4 contains both fertilizer and microorganisms) at the time of planting as this has been shown to greatly increase yields in asparagus. Be sure to plant in full sun (at least 8 hours) and make sure that the soil drains well. Because once asparagus gets started it becomes very well established and difficult to eradicate, you should [...]

By | 2017-06-07T07:32:30+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Weed and Feed – Good or Bad?

Weed and Feed Why are Weed and Feed products not recommended in Central Texas? It’s simple, really. For spring application, we address both pre- and post-emergent weed problems early in the season, many times before the grass has re-emerged from winter dormancy. The grass will not require fertilizer until it has emerged in the spring and has been growing well enough to have been mowed at least two times. For fall application, we address the weed seeds early, by using pre-emergent in mid-September to October, BEFORE they have germinated. We [...]

By | 2017-06-05T09:38:05+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Lawn Care|

Tree Borers

Tree Borers Many tree boring insects are attracted to weakened, damaged, dying or dead plants. They are referred to as “secondary invaders” because they attack a plant only after it has been weakened by stress or injury. Wood boring insects that attack living, healthy trees are known as “primary invaders”, and may eventually kill trees. It is important to differentiate the two when implementing borer control methods. Borer infestations usually go unnoticed until the tree shows external signs of damage, such as browning leaves or dying branches. The holes on [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:40:16+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Insects, Trees|

Redbuds: Harbingers of Spring!

Redbuds We’ve had a wonderfully mild winter so far, and with this mild weather come the early spring blooms! Redbuds are an excellent indicator of warmer days ahead. From the bean-like seed pods, we can tell that they are in the Legume (or bean) family. Their flowers come in a range of shades of deep rose, pink, purple and white, as well as a range of forms such as single trunk, multi-trunk and weeping. Although we often see the native Redbuds growing and blooming in full sun, they also do [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:35:44+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Trees|

Growing Japanese Maples in Central Texas

Japanese Maples The Japanese Maples are absolutely glorious this spring! With dissected leaves in various shades of burgundy and red, they make a welcome contrast with the greens and grays in the landscape. Japanese Maples can be an attractive addition to almost any landscape. To assure trees that thrive, locate your Japanese maple where it will receive dappled sun under the canopy of trees, with no more than two to three hours of morning sun. Japanese Maples will tolerate low winter temperatures quite well, but suffer from moisture loss from [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:33:00+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Trees|

Sick Trees Care and What To Do About It

Sick Trees The vast majority of diagnostic questions I receive each year are related to trees with health issues. Many of these issues could be avoided by proper (and consistent) care of the tree from the day it is planted. Sometimes things do go wrong, and knowing what to do can be instrumental in reviving the health of a tree. Trees have the amazing ability to “compartmentalize” diseased and damaged tissue, and to produce healthy tissue around it. If a tree has been stressed by environmental issues such as compaction [...]

By | 2017-05-08T10:29:22+00:00 April 4th, 2017|Trees|

Sticker Bur Control

Sticker Bur Control We get many questions throughout the year regarding control of stickers in the home lawn. Some of the stickers come from the Bur Clover plant, and others come from the Field Sandbur plant. Control for each type of sticker bur relates to the time of the year that the seed germinates. Bur Clover (Medicago sp.) is an annual weed that has a similar appearance to the white clover plant. The plant has round stems and three leaflets which are oval or egg-shape. The flowers of bur clover [...]

By | 2017-05-04T16:53:30+00:00 April 3rd, 2017|Lawn Care|

Organic Fertilizer

Now is the time to wake up the SOIL! As we watch our lawns begin to green up and grow enough to mow them, they will benefit from an application of an organic fertilizer to aid in their carbohydrate production. Since organic Nitrogen requires microorganisms to break it down before it is released to the soil, it will not burn root systems. Application rates are based on how many pounds of Nitrogen per 1000 sq.ft. is desired. The application rates given on the bags of organic fertilizer can be widely [...]

By | 2017-05-04T14:15:58+00:00 April 2nd, 2017|Lawn Care|

Spring Application of Pre-Emergent Herbicide

Remember the old adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”? That seems to have been written about the use of pre-emergent herbicides. Who wouldn’t prefer spreading a product on our lawns and beds that STOPS the weed BEFORE it comes up? A real no-brainer for me! Because weeds are classified as “warm-season or cool-season” according to the temperature at which they germinate, we can address a particular weed we may have by timing the application of pre-emergent appropriately. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it [...]

By | 2017-04-25T14:10:22+00:00 April 2nd, 2017|Lawn Care|

GUIDELINES FOR LAWN WATERING IN CENTRAL TEXAS

Lawn Watering in Central Texas Understanding the water needs of our lawns will ensure greater success with maintaining a healthy lawn. A lawn that is properly watered can compete aggressively with weeds and avoid stress that contributes to lawn diseases. LAWNS:  Creating a deep root system is probably the single-most important goal during hot weather.  Lawns should be watered to a depth of 6 inches during each irrigation.  To calculate the length of time to run irrigation, collect several empty tuna fish cans or cat food cans and set them [...]

By | 2017-05-04T14:12:07+00:00 April 2nd, 2017|Lawn Care|

Growing Blueberries in Central Texas

Rabbiteye blueberries can be grown successfully in whiskey barrel sized pots in Central Texas. Because they require acid soils, use a quality potting soil mixed with 1/3 sphagnum peat moss. The pot should drain well, and no saucer should be placed under the pot to ensure thorough drainage. Blueberries require full sun to produce well. Use a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants, such as an Azalea/Camellia/Gardenia fertilizer. Do not apply any fertilizer the first year. Starting the second year, fertilizer in late winter to early spring. DO NOT use a [...]

By | 2017-04-25T14:05:05+00:00 April 2nd, 2017|Fruit & Nuts|

Growing Artichokes in Central Texas

Artichokes are actually a thistle native to the Mediterranean. Like many plants from the Mediterranean, they require well-drained soils, and produce best in deep, fertile soils. Adding compost to sandy or clay soils will improve the drainage and fertility of the soil. Choose a location in full sun, and space plants 3’-4’ apart, as the plants will grow quite large. ‘Green Globe’ is a variety that does well in Central Texas, and are usually readily available at planting time. You can plant crowns in January, or container-grown stock later in [...]

By | 2017-04-24T17:44:48+00:00 April 1st, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|