We have some old, tall apple trees on the family farm. My wife calls them Milam's, an old heirloom that I haven't found a lot of info on. We have 3 close to us, and there are 3 others on other parts of the family farm. We had only 2 trees set fruit this year, so I thinned quite a bit of them, that is, the parts I could reach. Plus I did a lot of pruning of those I could get to. These trees are huge, about 20'+, so there's a lot of them I couldn't touch.
Well, fast forward to now, it doesn't appear that it helped much at all, the fruit are still very small (about 1 inch diameter). But, when ripe they don't get much bigger than a golf ball. Plus, they're just riddled with insect damage and sooty blotch. Not appealing at all. I didn't do any spraying, but I wasn't sure what to spray.
We had a very wet spring, and one of the trees seemed to get a bad case of fireblight, so that made the fruit look worse. So, not a very good year for the old trees.
Hopefully, the new trees we planted this spring will do well for us in the coming years.