The Q&A Archives: Fertilizing Arborvitae

Question: I have 54 emerald green arborvitae planted along my property line to serve as a hedge. I have fertilized the trees twice a year (spring and fall) since they were planted in March 1996. Is it still necessary to fertilize these trees? They are well established. Their original height was between 5 and 6 feet and they are now between 8 to 8.5 feet. Also, I have read in several books that coffee grounds are good for fertilizing evergreen trees like arborvitaes because the grounds provide acidity. Is this so? Can the coffee grounds replace the Hollytone fertilizer I currently use?

Thank you.

Answer: Fertilization requirements should really be based on the results of soil tests rather than by guessing. Your county extension should be able to help you with some basic soil tests and interpreting the results with an eye towards the arborvitae requirements. On the other hand, if the plants are doing well with your Hollytone regime, it might be a good idea to stick with it. Coffee grinds, although somewhat acidic, would not be a substitute.

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