Fall fertilizing of Japanese Holly

Asked October 2, 2019, 10:43 AM EDT

I have 3 Japanese Holly that I usually fertilize with Holly Tone once in the fall and once in the spring. Wondering if because of the drought, it might be best to forego the fertilizer until spring. What are your thoughts on this?

Calvert County Maryland

1 Response

In most landscapes, healthy mature trees and shrubs do not require fertilizer. Woody plants receive nutrients from lawn fertilization if their roots are adjacent to or growing under the turf area. And they pick up nutrients from decaying mulches and leaves and from the minerals in the soil.
This sounds like a lot of fertilization.

Excess fertilization can produce long succulent shoots that are attractive to various sucking insect pests. Never fertilize in late summer or early fall because the available nutrients will stimulate new growth at a time when trees and shrubs are preparing for dormancy. Do not fertilize when hot and dry.

Some reasons to fertilize are: if you observe pale green leaves and very limited new growth in the spring. Fertilize only according to soil test results and if there is a nutrient deficiency. See more on soil testing https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/soil-testing

Here is more on fertilizing trees and shrubs https://extension.umd.edu/hgic/topics/fertilizing-trees-and-shrubs