Answer: Barberries are very low maintenance shrubs. They do best in a well drained soil in full sun. In general barberries would not require much fertilization unless your soil tests indicate a need for it. They are tolerant of acid soil as well as more neutral soil pH so using Hollytone occasionally would not hurt it, but using a fertilizer for acid loving plants is certainly not necessary. You could use any slow release or general purpose granular fertilizer such as 10-10-10 per the label directions. It is better to underfertilize than over fertilize, so take care not to over do it.
With a new plant, it is more important to water (if needed to supplement rain) so that the soil stays evenly moist like a wrung out sponge, not saturated/sopping wet and not dried out. To know if you need to water, dig into the soil with your finger. If it is still damp, don't water yet. When you do water, water slowly and thoroughly so it soaks down deep to encourage deeper rooting. It is better to water deeply less often than to water lightly and frequently. Once it is established and well rooted, you should not need to water a barberry except possibly in a case of severe drought.
Also maintain a layer of organic mulch over the roots year round. The mulch should be about two to three inches deep and cover the root area but it should not touch the stems or trunk of the plant. This will also help feed the soil gradually over time as it breaks down, as well as help maintain steady soil moisture and keep down weeds.
Enjoy your barberry!
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