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.

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|Insects, Vegetable Gardening|

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|Fruit & Nuts, Vegetable Gardening|

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|

Rose Pruning Basics

Mid-February is one of the busiest times in the garden-we have plants that have died back this winter to cut back, and most importantly, it is time to prune our roses! Timing is important with all pruning endeavors, and roses should be pruned before they have started to put out new growth and expended precious reserves they will need to put out spring growth and blooms. I have talked to many people who are hesitant to prune roses, thinking that they might harm them. Trust me, roses are tougher that [...]

By |2022-02-19T13:29:08-06:00February 14th, 2022|Monthly Gardening Checklist, Plants|

Seiridium Canker of Leyland, Arizona and Italian Cypress

With the increased use of these three evergreen members of the Cupressaceae family in Central Texas, it is inevitable that we have begun seeing increased incidences of this common canker disease. Although Italian Cypress seems to be the most common species to be affected due to its prevalence in the landscape, this disease can also infect juniper and arborvitae. Leyland Cypress is now showing more symptoms in Central Texas, most likely because it is planted in soil that is not as well-drained or as high in organic content that the [...]

By |2022-02-04T12:00:46-06:00February 4th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Onion Varieties for Central Texas

Short Day Onion Varieties for Central Texas: “Short-day” onion varieties quit forming leaves and begin forming bulbs when the day length reaches 10-12 hours, and are best for Southern Gardens. The following varieties have proven to be the best for Central Texas.     1015Y:  This globe-shaped onion up to 6” wide is named after the ideal date the seed is planted (October 15). The off-white flesh is sweet and great for cooking, salads, etc. It takes  about 115 days from planting to harvest. Storage potential is 2-3 months. Photo [...]

By |2022-01-25T11:02:41-06:00January 25th, 2022|Vegetable Gardening|

Growing Carrots in Central Texas

Growing Carrots from Seed Carrots can be a rewarding crop to grow in Central Texas. Soil preparation and proper planting time will ensure a good harvest. We have a fall planting time from late August to early November and a spring planting time of mid-January to early March in Central Texas. If you take advantage of both growing periods you will have a long harvest of delicious carrots to enjoy.   Carrots require a deep, well-drained soil to thrive. Adding 3”-4” of organic matter and a light application of organic [...]

By |2022-01-05T13:43:11-06:00January 5th, 2022|Uncategorized|

Tree Care and Maintenance

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. It can take approximately 1 year per inch caliper of the tree for the tree to fully establish. Careful monitoring of watering during this time will ensure a healthy tree.  -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 [...]

By |2022-01-05T11:47:31-06:00January 5th, 2022|Uncategorized|
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