too early for fall holly tone feeding?

Asked August 22, 2015, 8:51 PM EDT

My China Girl hollies looked horrible this spring. A nursery staff member recommended holly tone and patience, since leaves could still come from what looked very dead. She was correct. Most of them came back. But I still have about 5 (out of 60 bushes) that just have a small bit of green growth. How soon can I apply holly tone again? I also want to mulch them to help them before winter.

Howard County Maryland

1 Response

Hollytone is simply a slow release fertilizer. It is not medicine. It can only help by supplying nutrients if those nutrients are lacking, which is doubtful.

Your hollies have winter damage from cold temperatures and, possibly, not enough moisture in the soil leading to winterburn. We'd recommend that you make sure they are not drought stressed in the dry weather we've been having. Mulch with aid in preventing moisture from evaporating from the soil, but it does not stop it. It should not be more than 1-2" in depth and should never touch the trunk/trunks of trees or shrubs. You can apply it any time.
This year be very careful to insure that your hollies have plenty of moisture in their soil before the soil freezes.