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.

Texas Plant Disease Diagnostic Lab

The Texas Plant Disease and Diagnostic Lab at Texas A&M University will test samples of diseased leaves from trees/shrubs and samples from lawns showing possible signs of disease. Please read the directions for payment and collection of samples. NOTE: They do not want DEAD LEAVES! Living tissue is best for diagnostic purposes. For a lawn sample, a 4"-6" divot with about 1" of soil/roots taken from the area NEXT TO the affected area (transition zone) is preferred to sending a sample of dead grass. Tree/shrub leaves that are just beginning [...]

By |2022-11-30T10:04:53-06:00November 30th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Winter Watering of Established Landscapes in Central Texas

  Winter Watering in Central Texas If you think you have a hard time adjusting to Central Texas drought, seasonal flooding, or freak freezing temperatures, think of what our plants go through! At least we can drink water, go inside to the air conditioning or warm ourselves with central heat. While rain and temperature are things that we cannot control, we can control the amount of water that our plants receive. When we are in a drought year, it is very important that we use our water carefully while keeping [...]

By |2022-11-30T10:55:00-06:00November 30th, 2022|Lawn Care, Plants, Trees|

Tree Care and Maintenance

Watering: -Water your tree religiously for at least one year using the following guidelines, and subsequent years during the hottest months or if we experience high heat or drought conditions. -At the time of planting the tree needs to be deeply watered. Two days after planting the tree needs to be deeply watered again. You can do this by turning on the hose and laying it inside the mulch reservoir, about six inches from the trunk, running it at a steady stream for about thirty minutes. If the reservoir does [...]

By |2022-11-23T12:00:52-06:00November 23rd, 2022|Uncategorized|

Fiddle Leaf Fig Care

Every era has had its favorite houseplant. In the 50’s and 60’s it was the African violet. The 70’s was a houseplant mecca, with macramé hangers and Peace Lily plants dominating the scene. The 80’s and 90’s had the Weeping fig, or Ficus benjamina trees in its favor. This decade definitely goes to the big, bold leaves of the Fiddleleaf Fig. Design-wise, this plant really makes a statement! It is hard not to notice the large, fiddle-shaped leaves and dark green color as you walk in a room. But how [...]

By |2022-11-23T11:42:42-06:00November 23rd, 2022|Plants, Houseplants|

Protecting Tropical Plants in the Winter

Protecting Tropical Plants in the Winter Our tropical plants have been happy outside over the summer, but cold weather is soon approaching. We need be prepared to bring our tender plants inside for a short freeze or even find them a bright spot indoors for the entire winter.       Before bringing them inside, check for fire ants in the soil. A soil drench with Captain Jack’s Deadbug Brew (with Spinosad) a few days before bringing them inside will kill any ants in the soil.         [...]

By |2022-11-02T11:36:46-05:00November 2nd, 2022|Plants, Houseplants, Succulents and Cacti|

How to Check Soil Drainage

Before you decide which species of tree to plant, it is very important to know how well your soil drains internally. Dig a hole that is one foot square and one foot deep. Fill it with water and leave it overnight to drain. Fill the hole with water again the next morning, and measure the level drop per hour. Setting a ruler into the hole and checking the drop hourly is one method. A 1"-3" drop per hour is acceptable, while a 2" drop per hour is ideal. If less [...]

By |2022-10-18T10:06:16-05:00October 18th, 2022|Trees|

Galls

Plant galls are fascinating to me. They are all around us, yet we seldom notice them unless they appear in a favorite landscape tree. Plant galls are produced by a variety of organisms which include mites, wasps, midges, thrips, fruit flies, moths, psyllids, and aphids, as well as bacteria and fungi. Most plant galls are not harmful to the host plant, with the exception of some formed by bacteria and fungi. Many plant galls are produced by the host plant in response to the egg laying activity of the insects [...]

By |2022-10-02T15:43:06-05:00October 2nd, 2022|Disease, Insects, Trees|

King Ranch Bluestem

Yes, it is that time of year again. The King Ranch Bluestem, aka “KR Bluestem”, is sending up the tall telltale seed heads to let us know it is there. You see, it has been there all along. It is a perennial grass that was introduced from Europe and Asia in the 1920s and 1930s as a “desirable” species for erosion control and forage for cattle. (Another good idea gone awry.) As you can guess, it is no longer “desirable”. KR Bluestem is now on the Texas Invasive Species list, [...]

By |2022-09-10T14:17:43-05:00September 10th, 2022|Lawn Care|

Captain Jack’s Deadweed Brew and Lawnweed Brew

Here are the Great New Weed Control Products. As always, read the entire label before using. Deadweed Brew:   Use this non-selective post-emergent herbicide to kill weeds, grass, mosses and algae in gardens, gravel and other areas where an approved organic product is needed. Remember, it kills everything that it is applied to, so proper application is necessary. The active ingredient is product made from caprylic acid ad capric acid derived from palm oil. NON-SELECTIVE WEED CONTROL - For use on non-selective herbaceous broadleaf and grassy weeds. Read the label for [...]

By |2022-09-07T10:16:18-05:00September 7th, 2022|Lawn Care|

Sweet Potato Harvest

  Harvest when your potatoes reach the recommended growing time for your variety, usually around 110 days after planting.  Try to harvest on a sunny day when the soil is not too wet. Pull aside the vines so that you can see where you are digging!   I use a flat-tined fork, digging 12”-18” away from the plant to avoid damaging the sweet potatoes. Go straight down about 6”, then angle toward the center of the plant and gently lift the potatoes out of the ground. Separate the sweet potatoes [...]

By |2022-09-04T10:37:16-05:00September 4th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening|

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|
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