Q: I enjoyed your article on limelight hydrangeas. When and how is the limelight hydrangea pruned? My plant is 3 years old. It has gotten tall and is blocking our house number. Would it be okay to cut it back now?

A: Thanks for the kind words. I would wait until February or March to prune because the limelight hydrangea blooms on new wood. Any time pruning is done, the process encourages a plant to develop new growth, so the limelight should be pruned in late winter or early spring, before new growth occurs.

Q: What could have caused the fruit on my tomato plants to stop growing? The plants were doing well. The fruit had been growing to a large size, then all of a sudden all the developed tomatoes just stopped growing. Now all my fruit is small.

A: Generally the reason for small tomatoes is because the plants are stressed. Extreme drought, excessive heat, insects or disease may cause tomato plants to stop expending energy into producing flowers or fruit. When struggling with one of the problems listed above, a plant in order to survive will concentrate all its effort into developing its root system. Flowers may drop and fruit may stop growing and eventually drop. Insufficient water is the No. 1 reason the fruit stops growing. The soil in which tomatoes are planted should be kept moist. When water is insufficient, tomato plants generally will show signs of stress, such as wilting, leaf drop or fruit that stops growing. The extreme heat we’ve experienced this season may be the cause. Too much direct afternoon sun may stress tomato plants. If this is true in your planting situation, then next season, you might decide to select a planting site that receives some afternoon shade. On the other hand, if your tomato plants do not receive sufficient sunlight, the fruit may not grow beyond the development stage. Too much nitrogen in your fertilizer may also cause of poor fruit production.

Carol (Bonnie) Link is an Etowah County Master Gardener and an experienced garden writer. Her weekly column is designed to help and encourage others in their gardening endeavors. Send questions or comments to clink43@bellsouth.net.