I planted this dolgo crab in early spring and while thinking about next year’s pruning strategy, I realized these codominant leaders are a bad thing (newbie ignorance). My question is, since the angle isn’t incredibly sharp, is it still recommended to remove one branch? Also, I’ve seen conflicting info about pruning crabapples. I’ve heard late winter during dormancy, but also heard after blooming in mid-spring. I’m OK with not having flowers next year, if it provides better healing. See the attached photo of the tree. For scale, the lower trunk is about 1.5” caliper. Thanks all!
I would remove whichever one has the fewest scaffolds . It will split eventually right in the “Y” of that tree. Prune it when it is dormant late next winter.
I’d remove it- but I have lots of established trees. You can always subdue the lesser branch, cutting it back during growing season and it will submit. There are no hard rules in arboricuture or horticulture.
Thanks all, I’ll cut off the lesser half.
I asked a friend who’s a part time arborist and he said let it get established for a few years before trimming off the other branch. Any truth to this? I’d rather just start training the tree early if possible. Thanks
I would train now or no later than this winter especially talking about removing one of the leaders.
Agree with @Auburn. I would not let the tree waste its energy. I would train it now
@alan has said many times that most arborists don’t know much about how to train fruit tres
The energy comes form leaves and all pruning is dwarfing (not all, but that’s the cliche). I would remove the smaller co because it would be less work and not make a lot of difference. However, I believe it is likely that gradually subduing rather than removing the offensive branch will speed its establishment. If I did that I would make a point of removing anything on the disfavored branch that blocks light from the chosen leader.
If the decision is to remove it before next growing season it would be best to wait until it is dormant because it is less dwarfing to prune at that time.
Thanks for all the great replies. So what I’m hearing is to:
A. Definitely train the tree to a single leader
B. Removing some branches from the smaller leader to kill it is a better option than just lopping it off in one shot
Follow up questions:
-When do I know that the smaller leader has sufficiently “subdued”?
-Do I eventually lop it off or will it just become a smaller branch, not a codominant?