Answer: Your Home Depot Associate was right - don't fertilize until next spring. The reasoning behind this is that you want the roots of your shrubs to become established before your plant redirects its energy into growing. If you fertilize now, you'll encourage new foliage, at the expense of root development. It's always better to have your shrubs firmly rooted first, and then to put out new foliage.
Hope this clarifies things for you!
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