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.

Azaleas in Central Texas

Azaleas in Central Texas Yes, we CAN grow acid-loving Azaleas in Central Texas! It does take some preparation and TLC, but the rewards are tremendous. Most of the Azaleas available today are “repeat bloomers” that will put on a stunning show in the spring, scattered blooms throughout the summer and a re-bloom in the fall. Azaleas will do well in north or east exposures in Central Texas, where they are protected from the harsh afternoon sun. Dappled sun under trees with an hour or two of morning sun is also [...]

By |2021-06-22T14:16:42-05:00June 22nd, 2021|Plants|

Imported Fire Ant Control

Imported Fire Ant Control Face it, we have all had run-ins with Fire Ant mounds and the painful blisters that form after they bite. Children, pets, and wildlife are especially vulnerable, as they are often unaware of the mounds until the ants begin biting. There are several options for controlling (but unfortunately not eradicating) Imported Fire Ants: The Two Step Method: Step One involves broadcasting a fire ant bait over the entire area once or twice a year. This has the potential for reducing the colonies by 80-90%. Apply baits [...]

By |2021-05-19T09:45:30-05:00May 19th, 2021|Insects, Lawn Care, Vegetable Gardening|

Bacterial Leaf Spot on Peppers

Bacterial Leaf Spot on Peppers This devastating disease can infect peppers and tomatoes. Prevention is the key, as once the disease has taken hold treatment is not effective. Bacterial leaf spot causes lesions that look like they are soaked with water. The spots usually appear on the lower leaves first, and as the disease progresses the spots are purple brown with a light brown center. When the spots appear on the peppers, they cause spotting and raised cracks, which open the fruit up to infection by other disease organisms. There [...]

By |2021-05-12T14:59:23-05:00May 12th, 2021|Disease, Vegetable Gardening|

Tomato Leaf Curl

Tomato Leaf Curl Most gardeners have experienced leaf curl on tomatoes at one time or another. It is important to understand the cause so that you can make the decision on whether it is necessary to remove the plant from the garden or not. Some causes are environmental and may be attributed to physiological conditions. When this is the case, removal of the plant is unnecessary. Leaf Roll, aka Physiological Leaf Curl, is often seen during excessively moist, cool conditions. The leaf rolls “upward” and becomes leathery in texture. Curling [...]

By |2021-05-12T14:59:47-05:00May 12th, 2021|Disease, Vegetable Gardening|

Pepper Leaf Spot

Pepper Leaf Spot I know that I am not the only one who has had this disease on their peppers. It appears in the late spring to summer when we have had frequent rainfall. Of course, if you are overhead watering, you would see it as well. Bacterial leaf spot on peppers can be a devastating disease if not caught and treated early. This is why I always preach that your garden needs to be in sight of your house so that you can check it often. This disease is [...]

By |2021-05-12T15:01:13-05:00May 5th, 2021|Disease, Vegetable Gardening|

Germanders for The Garden

Germanders for the Garden Germanders are a welcome addition to a drought resistant garden. Native to the Mediterranean, they adapt well in Central Texas, as long as they have well-drained soils. Read about the varieties available, and try some in your landscape. You won't be disappointed!   Silver Bush Germander                Teucrium fruticans This evergreen mounding shrub with fragrant silver-gray leaves hails from the Mediterranean, where conditions are similar to our part of Texas. It is native to rocky limestone soils but will tolerate most soils as long as they are [...]

By |2021-05-04T14:00:26-05:00May 4th, 2021|Uncategorized|

2021 Freeze Update April 1

2011 Freeze Update April 1 So many questions!!! Is it dead or alive? Do I cut it back or wait? Should I replace it with something else? Unfortunately, it is impossible to provide a “blanket answer” to these important questions. Each situation is different, and each outcome will also be different. Is it dead or alive?   At this point, if it has not begun leafing out, the best way to evaluate it is to see if the twigs are still flexible. If they snap, cut them down. They may still [...]

By |2021-03-31T21:58:04-05:00March 31st, 2021|Uncategorized|

2021 Freeze- 5 weeks after

2021 Freeze-5 weeks after Thankfully, many plants are beginning to show new growth after being assaulted by record-low temperatures in February. However, we are still not “out of the woods” yet, as some plants may be late to show signs of life. There are many that we KNOW either will not come back or will not come back satisfactorily, so they may be removed/replaced now. I’d also like to remind everyone that although we did get a bit of rain this week, we have been and are currently under drought [...]

By |2021-03-23T16:12:29-05:00March 23rd, 2021|Uncategorized|

One Month After the Freeze

One Month After The Freeze It’s hard to believe that it has only been four weeks since Winter Storm Uri graced us with frigid temperatures, ice and snow. We have already had so many warm days that it truly feels like spring! Our landscapes are once again showing signs of new growth. Live Oak trees are pushing out catkins which will be full of pollen soon, and tiny oak leaves are beginning to show.                 Many of our native plants are putting out [...]

By |2021-03-18T12:06:44-05:00March 18th, 2021|Uncategorized|

Freeze Update

I have been getting a lot of questions on whether this plant or that plant will be likely to recover. I think it is important to understand that the plants are still in the process of reacting to this freeze. They aren’t done yet!!! The healthier a plant or tree was going into this freeze, the better the chance of recovery, especially with our native and adaptive species. In the coming weeks or even months, as trees and shrubs that still have the ability to put out new growth begin [...]

By |2021-03-09T14:03:44-06:00March 9th, 2021|Plants, Trees|

After the Freeze 2021

Freeze Damage to Plants I am sure everyone is anxious to know what damage the extreme cold temperatures have done to our landscapes. Unfortunately, it is too early to tell in most cases. You will hear me repeat this, I am certain, but “time will tell”. I know it is difficult to have patience, but because there are so many factors that can influence how a plant might be affected, that is exactly what we will have to do. Try to get used to the “ugly landscape”, as we really [...]

Determinate vs. Indeterminate Tomatoes

Determinate or Indeterminate Tomatoes When you come to Backbone Valley Nursery to peruse the many different varieties of tomatoes that we have to offer, you will see them labeled as “determinate” or “indeterminate”. What, exactly, does that mean? “Determinate” and “Indeterminate” classifications in tomatoes refers to their growth and flowering/fruiting habits, and can help you in your selection for different growing situations. “Determinate” type tomatoes flower and fruit until the very top of the plant produces flowers, then it stops growing any taller. All the fruit produced up until that [...]

By |2021-01-12T12:01:01-06:00January 12th, 2021|Vegetable Gardening|
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