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

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 plant asparagus [...]

By | 2017-04-19T09:51:41+00:00 April 19th, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

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|

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|

Grow Lettuce From Seed in the Garden

I have heard many gardeners lament that their lettuce seed will not germinate. Perhaps looking at what lettuce seed requires in order to germinate will help those who have had difficulty with germination in the past. Lettuce grows best in a soil amended with well-decomposed compost, such as our Vegan Compost, or Ladybug Revitalizer Compost. Because it is a leafy crop, lettuce responds to relatively high levels of fertility. Add 2 teaspoons of Happy Frog Marine Cuisine or Happy Frog Tomato and Vegetable Fertilizer per square foot of planting area, [...]

By | 2017-04-24T17:42:30+00:00 April 1st, 2017|Vegetable Gardening|

Agave Snout Weevils

The Agave Snout Weevils are at it again! The females have spent the past spring chewing into the Agaves and Yuccas and laying their eggs.  They chew into the leaf bases, leaving behind a bacteria (Erwinia) as they go. That bacteria rots the heart of the plant. A small hole at the base of the leaf may indicate the entrance of the beetle.  The eggs have now hatched into grub-like larvae, and have tunneled into the rotting heart of the plant. Unfortunately, by the time that you see the damage [...]

By | 2017-04-24T17:38:03+00:00 April 1st, 2017|Insects|

Controlling Grubs in Texas Lawns

What Are Grubs? Grubs are a common nuisance in Texas lawns. There are actually 100 different types of scarab beetles in Texas that have a similar lifecycle and designated as white grubs, grub worms, June bugs, or May beetles. These bugs are harmless to pets and humans other than being a nuisance. The adult beetle does no direct damage to any plant, but its larval form can do significant damage to root systems of warm season turf grasses, vegetables, and ornamental plants. Plants damaged by grubs will have weak growth [...]

By | 2017-04-25T19:56:24+00:00 April 1st, 2017|Insects|