warm day in the east yesterday, getting excited about spring

Hey have a couple of early spring questions. I live in south New Jersey. 1. When is the earliest I should fertilize my shrubs like hollys, junipers, and plants that keep leaves all winter? New house so I have a ton of new shrubs. Old house I use to hit them with some holly tone fall and spring. 2. I have some decorative pepper plant seeds. Very colorful fruit, red, yellow, and orange. When should I start them inside for a late April/may planting? Is April may too early for pepper plants? 3. I planted a Cleveland Pear tree last fall 2002, 20 gallon or so. It is about 15 or so feet now. When I got it, the branches were very tight and most branches only went straight up. I guess they prune them like this to help when shipping. This past spring I cut some of the branches that were near the trunk only going straight up. It is starting send some branches out to the sides. Is it too early to prune the tree, if so when should I prune? I'm only cutting branches that are growing into the tree rather than out to the sides. Also, there are about three or four branches at the very, very top that are growing straight up with no side branches, one is kind of the main trunk. Should I cut this to promote side branches? 4. I planted some bulbs and afterwards I added some low voltage lighting. In some places I can see some of the bulbs poking up near the lights. Is it too late to move these bulbs?
Thanks
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junipers,
You can use the Hollytone, but wait until you see new growth appearing in spring. Plants are not able to metabolize fertilizer unless they are in active growth.

Possibly. Depends on when your last frost normally occurs. Out west, we recommend not planting out hot season crops like peppers until after Mother's Day. Figure about 60 days prior to that to start seeds.

out
prune?
to
Narrow, ascending branch structure is the growth habit of ornamental pears. Despite whatever pruning you may do, it will never develop a very outward spread. I'd limit my pruning to removing any crossing branches or any that are obviously dead or diseased. Clevelands are much stronger trees than Bradford pears and don't require the same degree of maintenance. Excessive, even regular annual pruning is seldom necessary and can be detrimental. Pruning of deciduous ornamental trees is normally recommended for late winter, just before they break dormancy.

In
too
They can be moved now if your ground is not yet frozen, but I'm not sure I see the need. Growing up around the lighting will not concern the bulbs. Unless you find this aesthetically unpleasing, I'd leave them alone.
pam - gardengal
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