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.

Watering Trees During Drought

    High temperatures and long-term drought can have a profound effect on tree roots. Unfortunately, many times we do not learn this until we see the telltale signs of stress. Once stressed, trees are more susceptible to insects and diseases. Depending on how much root loss has occurred, a stressed tree may or may not survive. This tree is showing signs of Flux, which is an indication of stress. Click HERE for more info. It is important to be PROACTIVE to prevent stress in our trees. With a little [...]

By |2022-07-27T13:59:07-05:00July 27th, 2022|Uncategorized, Trees|

Fall Tomatoes

        Growing tomatoes for fall harvest can be quite rewarding. Fall tomatoes should be planted from transplants during the month of July in central Texas. We generally plant them 14-16 weeks before the average first killing frost, which is about July 10 in the Marble Falls area of Central Texas.       You can purchase new plants or root cuttings from existing healthy plants. If you decide to root cuttings, start about 2-3 weeks ahead of the planting time. Remove suckers (the branches that grow out [...]

By |2022-07-17T11:51:03-05:00July 17th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening|

Porcupine Damage to Trees

      Porcupines are nocturnal, solitary animals that most people are unaware of unless they see the damage they can cause to trees. Porcupines feed on the young bark, leaves and terminal twigs of trees. Damage is usually found high up in the branches of trees but can be found anywhere in the branches and even on the trunk of trees.             Porcupines prefer the inner bark, or phloem, which is more nutritious than the cambium or xylem tissue.            [...]

By |2022-07-11T10:25:45-05:00July 10th, 2022|Trees|

My New Tree is Crispy!

Establishing trees in the summer comes with its own set of challenges. Trees CAN be established in the summer, but it is necessary to understand the importance of consistent watering. I have always preferred hand-watering to any form of irrigation, as it requires a “hands on” approach and leaves nothing to chance. The tree that you bring home has a root system, in a pot, that has been providing water and nutrients for the entire canopy of that tree while being grown in the nursery setting. When you plant the [...]

By |2022-06-29T10:55:17-05:00June 28th, 2022|Trees|

Succulent Bowls Step by Step

If you love succulents, chances are that you will want to put together your own "creation" in the form of a succulent bowl. Since I have been around a long time (I am NOT old!), I have learned the "hard way" how to do many things, and I'd like to help you avoid a few pitfalls. Disclaimer: Just because this is the way that I have found best to plant succulent bowls myself does not mean that there are not many other ways of doing this. Please take this information [...]

By |2022-06-19T10:33:08-05:00June 19th, 2022|Plants, Houseplants, Succulents and Cacti|

Screening Basics

Screening with plants is often necessary to provide privacy and to screen unwanted views from our homes and yards. There are some pitfalls to avoid concerning screening with plants, such as: *DO NOT PLANT ALL THE SAME VARIETY OF PLANT!  We have seen what can happen when a "wall" of Photinia is infected with Entomosporium fungus and defoliates. Or an Elaeagnus "hedge" gets scale insects and dies. Any time you plant a monoculture of plants you risk losing them all to something that only affects that particular plant. Years ago [...]

By |2022-06-01T14:35:46-05:00June 1st, 2022|Plants|

Deer Resistant Plants for Central Texas

Welcome to our Deer Resistant plant list for Central Texas. Of course, there are NO GUARANTEES! Every location has its own "deer pressure" and the best way to see what works in your area is to observe what plants are not being eaten! We recommend spraying ALL new plants, whether they are "deer resistant" or not, with Deer Out repellant twice a week for about three weeks after planting. Deer will sample anything new, and at certain times of the year or in a drought situation, NOTHING is reliable. Please [...]

By |2022-05-29T10:26:16-05:00May 29th, 2022|Plants|

Squash Bugs

Squash bugs are appearing in numbers now on leaves of squash and related plants such as pumpkins, melons, and cucumbers.     Nymphs hatch from eggs laid on the underside of leaves near the crown of the plant.           Nymphs are green and red, about 1/8” long and appear clustered in groups at first. As they develop into adults through five instars (stages) they disperse themselves on the plants.         Adult Squash bugs are grayish brown, with short orange stripes around the edge [...]

By |2022-04-18T11:58:45-05:00April 18th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening, Insects|

Sweet Potato Varieties

    Beauregard: (90-100 days) An outstanding release that is widely grown for sweetness and high yields with uniform tubers. Resistant to soil rot and white grubs as well as cracking.     Photo courtesy of Steele Plant Farm     Georgia Jet: (90-100 days) Extremely fast growth followed by nice sized potatoes in just 90 days. Sweet orange flesh and sugary aroma make this top for baking. Can be grown in a 20 gallon grow tub.     Photo courtesy of Steele Plant Farm   Vardaman: (100 days) Bush [...]

By |2022-04-18T10:45:27-05:00April 18th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening, Fruit & Nuts|

Bur Control

                We get many questions throughout the year regarding control of stickers in the home lawn. First, determine what type of  stickers you are dealing with- Bur Clover, Field Sandbur, Lawn Burweed or Khaki Weed. Control for each type of sticker bur relates to the time of the year that the seed germinates and whether it is an annual or a perennial weed.  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 [...]

By |2022-04-05T14:48:32-05:00April 5th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Lichens on Tree Bark

  Have you ever wondered what those colorful crusty growths on tree trunks are? You’ll be happy to know that they are not usually harmful, but simply a relationship between three separate species that are mutually helpful to one another. The fungal part of this relationship cannot survive without the availability of photosynthetic products from the other two species, green algae and cyanobacteria.       Lichens grow on trees, shrubs, soil, and rocks and provide additional moisture and protection to whatever they grow on. If a tree or shrub [...]

By |2022-04-07T15:05:29-05:00April 5th, 2022|Plants, Trees|

Why Do Live Oaks Look So Bad This Spring?

Every spring we get the same question from new residents who may have moved here from other states. Here is a recent query:     Question:  We have noticed that a lot of the old established Live Oaks are looking very bad this spring. Yellow leaves that are all falling off. Is this something we should be concerned with? Should we be watering them?         Answer:  Live Oaks are not true evergreens. They will actually shed leaves year-round, but the main shed is in the spring-as in [...]

By |2022-03-29T11:40:29-05:00March 29th, 2022|Uncategorized|
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