Will Pruning Cause Azaleas To Bloom Later & Planting Tomatoes

Question:

Is it too late to plant tomatoes? 

Answer:

No, it’s not too late to plant tomatoes.
  • Personally, I think May is the ideal month to plant tomatoes along with peppers, eggplant, melons, more so than earlier.
  • The rainy season has concluded and the day and nighttime temperature are ideal for growing summer vegetables. Tomatoes like warm days and nights; otherwise, they struggle never reaching the expectation gardeners have.
    • That being said,  it is time to take a reality check on those tomatoes planted in March and April.  You need to ask yourself the following questions. Have your plants grown sufficiently since they been planted or are they struggling and doing little to nothing? Is the foliage a nice green color or are they spotted and turning yellow?
    • If you answered yes to either question, you now have to do one of two things. The first option is to lower your expectations. The plants are not going to kick it into another gear and make up for the lost time once the weather improves. These plants will underperform the rest of the season as there is no 'Catch Up' gene in tomatoes. This is my primary reason to wait and plant late.
    • Option two is to replace them.  The new plantings will outperform those planted earlier. Your favorite variety may not be available and that’s okay because you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the ones you did plant.

Question:

 I’ve heard that if you prune Azaleas after their spring bloom, they will bloom again in the summer. Is this true and how much pruning is necessary?

Answer:

Pruning has no effect on the blooming cycle of Azaleas.
  • Pruning doesn't trigger bud formation; however, it can delay the formation of flower buds when they’re sheared back in the late summer or in the fall. The proper time to prune is after they have finish flowering and its primary purpose is to shape the plant.
  • The old spent flowers should be manually removed, as Azaleas do not self-shed themselves.
    • This allows you to shape and clean up the plant(s) all at one time. Azaleas bloom only in the spring, however; there are locations where we do see them flower a second time.
    • This occurs in the fall where there is a strong marine influence during the summer months. The cool, moist air after several heat spells tricks the plants into blooming again. We would expect this to occur along the coast and in Berkeley, San Ramon, Martinez, Fremont and other cities. Although, It doesn’t happen ever year.
  • Encore Azaleas will bloom twice a year without any help from Mother Nature.
    • I would consider them for new or replacement plantings. They’ve been around for about ten years. All told, there are thirty varieties in the series, but most garden centers only carry a few.
    • They thrive equally well in high filtered shade or sunny locations. But, I would protect them from the heat of the day sun where the temperature regularly is in the high eighties and above.
    • Also, you should prune them be July otherwise you’ll miss the fall blooming cycle. You’ll find more information about Encore Azaleas at encoreazaleas.com.