How to Feed Acid-Loving Plants with Holly-Tone

Holly-tone is an organic & natural fertilizer that’s not just for Hollies. It can be used for any acid-loving plants, such as blueberries, camellias, rhododendrons, evergreens, hydrangeas and more.

You will want to fertilize your plants twice a year – In early spring and late fall. When you apply the fertilizer in late fall, only use half of the recommended dosage.

How to Apply Holly-tone:

Before fertilizing your acid-loving trees, shrubs and plants with Holly-tone, be sure to take a look at the back of the bag. It lays out instructions for each type of plant to give it the best chance to grow.


When fertilizing trees, first figure out the diameter of the tree trunk. This will help you determine how much fertilizer to use. Use one pound of fertilizer for each inch of your tree.

Drill holes every 2-3 feet around the drip line of the tree, in the video Laura demonstrates using a drill and hole auger. The drip line is basically where the canopy of the tree ends. Distribute the fertilizer evenly in each hole, backfill and water in.

Note: Arborvitae and boxwoods are not acid-loving evergreens, so use Plant-tone instead.


Shrubs are a bit easier to fertilize than trees, since there is no digging required. Similar to trees, the amount of fertilizer used is based on how big the shrub is. Use one cup of fertilizer for every foot of branch diameter. Sprinkle it around the drip line of the plant, work it into the soil and water it in well.

Garden Beds:

Established garden beds are the simplest of the three to fertilize. Again, it’s all about the size of the beds you have in your garden. For every 100 square feet of your garden bed, use 5 pounds of fertilizer. Sprinkle it as evenly as possible where the plants are and water it in.

For new garden beds, use twice as much fertilizer to prepare the soil for new plants. For a 100 square foot garden bed, use 10 pounds of fertilizer. Sprinkle it on top of the soil and work it in the top 4 inches, to get it nice and prepped for the new plants.


If you have plants like blueberries, in containers, you will want to use 1 teaspoon for every 3 inches of your pot diameter. Sprinkle it around the inside edge of the pot and water in.

Have non-acid-loving trees ready to be fertilized? Laura from Garden Answer shows how to fertilize with Tree-tone.

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  1. […] Azaleas are acid-loving plants. That means that they prefer soil with a low pH. Fertilizers like Espoma’s Holly-tone were developed especially for acid-lovers. You apply it once in the spring and again in late fall at half strength. Well-drained soil is also a must. They do best in bright shade. Too much sun can burn the foliage and too little will result in poor flowering. […]

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