This is especially common with stone fruits like plums, pluots and apricots, but also with apples and pears. Fruiting trees require different pruning strategies than ornamental trees. Apples and apricots, for instance, bear fruit on the same spurs year after year. Pruning all the little dead-looking stubs off the tree in winter is a sure way to guarantee no fruit the following year. Peaches, lemons, pomegranates, avocados, oranges, figs, persimmons, etc. – they're all pruned differently.
I need some suggestions for plant in rather deep shade. I've tried camellias, impatiens, azaleas and a few others, but they haven't done very well.
Lauren, Huntington Beach
Answer: If you have deep shade you will need to be very selective. A few plants to consider are fatsia, aucuba, mahonia, osmanthus, clivia, ligularia, pachysandra and several ferns, such as giant chain fern, sword fern and holly fern. A woodland effect with some of these blended to contrast their foliage patterns and growth habits can be quite soothing and beautiful. If the area is warm enough in the winter you can add some indoor plants for a splash of color, such as spathiphyllum (peace lily), variegated pothos and various brightly colored crotons.