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 47 years of experience in the horticulture field. She holds a B.S. in Horticulture from Ohio State University, a TMCNP and a TCLP from Texas Association of Nurserymen, a Specialist in Urban Trees Certification from Texas A&M, and is a Certified Arborist.

Tree Planting Instructions

Tree Planting Instructions   Pick a species of tree that will do the best in your soil type and zone. Be sure to buy a locally grown tree as they will adapt best to the soil and water types of your area. Be sure to choose a quality container grown tree species that does not have girdling roots. Keep in mind how big your tree will grow! Pick the correct spot to plant your tree. Choose a spot away from power lines and clear of buildings. Stay away from septic [...]

By |2020-08-05T14:08:50-05:00August 5th, 2020|Trees|

Summer Stress is Preventable

Summer Stress Let’s face it. Central Texas has HOT summers. There is no denying it. It is stressful for us, and it is stressful for our plants. If you have planted a shrub or a tree in the last two years, and you begin to see yellow or brown leaves in the summer, it is time to evaluate your watering program. Immediately. There are a few things to be aware of that happen in Central Texas summers that will help you make decisions on managing water in your landscape. FIRST: [...]

By |2020-08-05T09:29:29-05:00August 2nd, 2020|Plants, Trees|

Bacterial Wetwood and Alcoholic Flux

Bacterial Wetwood and Alcoholic Flux Many times, the first time you see a tree “leaking” will be when insects such as Green June Beetles or Hackberry Butterflies are attracted to the fluid seeping out of the trunk and draw your attention to it. Bacterial Wetwood, also known as Slime Flux, is a bacterial disease that can affect a variety of tree species, such as oak, elm, mesquite, maples, and others. Bacterial Wetwood occurs when bacteria infect the wood of a tree, usually through a wound in the trunk, limb, or [...]

By |2020-07-28T10:43:56-05:00July 28th, 2020|Disease, Trees|

Sapsucker Damage to Trees

Once again, the Yellow bellied Sapsuckers are causing major damage to some of our established shade trees. The Sapsucker feeds on sap obtained by drilling shallow holes in a ring around a tree. Many times the trees they target are under some kind of stress already. When a tree is under stress, the sugars concentrate to provide nutrients to help fight wounds and repair injuries. Sapsuckers can apparently detect that change and target those trees. Sapsuckers overwinter in Central America and Southern North America, and summer in Canada and the [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:46:52-05:00July 22nd, 2020|Trees|

Houseplant Care 101

Once you have chosen a houseplant which is appropriate for the light conditions in your location, the single most important aspect of their care is knowing how to water correctly.  When at all possible, double potting (setting a nursery pot inside a decorative pot) is the most effective method of potting. As long as the nursery pot is manageable, it can be moved outside or to a sink or bathtub to water the plant. It is very important to be able to water the plant in a location where the [...]

By |2020-07-08T09:29:00-05:00July 8th, 2020|Houseplants|

Establishing Trees in the Landscape-AFTER the first year

Watering Trees After the First Year Hopefully you have followed our watering guidelines to establish your tree in the landscape for the FIRST YEAR . Now it is time to talk about how to encourage the root system to spread out and grow to its full potential in SUBSEQUENT YEARS. I have talked to many people who continue to water their trees, year after year, right up next to the trunk of the tree. Unfortunately, that is not where the majority of the roots SHOULD be, nor where you should [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:17:05-05:00June 29th, 2020|Plants, Trees|

Tillandsia Care

Air Plant (Tillandsia) Care Air plants, or Tillandsias, are Bromeliads in the pineapple family. They are classified as epiphytes, meaning they attach themselves to trees for support, taking nothing from and giving nothing to the tree. Their leaves, rather than their roots, absorb water and nutrients through tiny scales called trichomes. They really are quite easy to care for, but it helps to know what their requirements are if you want them to thrive. Light: Lighting should be quite bright but not direct sun. Keeping them within 3’of an east, [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:17:48-05:00May 23rd, 2020|Houseplants, Plants|

Staghorn Fern Care

Staghorn Fern Care   *Staghorn ferns (Platycerium bifurcatum) are epiphytes which grow in tree tops in Australia, Madagascar, Phillipines, Africa, Southeast Asia and America. There are many species of Staghorn ferns, each requiring different growing conditions. The Platycerium bufurcatum is the most common species in cultivation due to their ease of care. *Staghorn ferns have both sterile fronds and fertile fronds. The sterile fronds are the disc shaped fronds that serve to attach the plant to a tree, capturing rainwater and debris for nutrients. Sterile fronds also break down to [...]

By |2020-05-13T14:01:35-05:00May 13th, 2020|Houseplants, Plants|

Desert Rose

Desert Rose (Adenium obtusum)             Like Oleanders, Adenium is a member of the Dogbane family (Apocynaceae) They are native to the deserts of South and East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula.  Since they are considered to be a tropical plant in Central Texas, the plants should be grown in pots so that they can be brought indoors in cool weather.             Young plants should be grown in filtered sunlight, outdoors, in pots under a sparsely branched tree, or at the edge of a canopy of a more densely branched tree. [...]

By |2020-05-13T13:47:23-05:00May 13th, 2020|Plants|

Establishing Trees in the Landscape-the first year

Establishing a tree in Central Texas is a labor of love. Given proper care your tree will thrive for many years to come. Please remember that rain and irrigation is not adequate for establishing newly planted trees. It can take up to one year for each inch of  trunk caliper to fully establish a tree. Missing just one day of watering, especially on a hot or windy day, can mean root death for the tree from which it may not recover. Keep up the good work and you will be [...]

By |2020-06-29T14:20:51-05:00April 29th, 2020|Trees|

Fire Blight on Pear Trees

For the third year in a row, Bradford Pears have been blooming during a rain event! Why does that matter, you ask? Because a very bad guy, a bacterium called Erwinia amylovora, or Fire Blight, enters the plant through the flower via splashing water. The first symptom to appear, shortly after bloom, is a blossom blight. The flower will appear water-soaked, then turn black. The most obvious symptom of this disease is the shoot blight phase, in which the tip of the shoot turns brown or black and bend over [...]

By |2020-07-22T16:53:34-05:00April 22nd, 2020|Disease, Fruit & Nuts, Trees|

Growing Periwinkle in Central Texas

Anyone who has planted Periwinkle, or Annual Vinca, in the spring in Central Texas will tell you “that plant always dies when I plant it”. Well, there is a reason for that! Periwinkle, especially in the “old” days, before resistant varieties were available, was never grown until the cool wet weather ofspringwas behindus. It absolutely thrives in the scorching hot summers, but give itrain and cool weather, and disease takes over! Phytopthora fungus is the causal organism for both Aerial blight and Root blight on Madagascar Periwinkles. As mentioned above, [...]

By |2020-04-07T09:53:31-05:00April 4th, 2020|Disease, Plants|
Go to Top