Pruning advice

Any suggestions on which of these limbs should become the new lead? I’m thinking 2. The tree has seen some stuff.

I’m like a newbie compared to the experts here, but I would pick the one closest to the middle (#3)

My concern is long term strength which is why I’m betting 2. It’s a pretty messed up set.

1 is currently dominant.

I would collect scion soon and then this spring lop that whole mess off and start fresh with your collected scion


@BenG might have the best idea!. Bark or cleft graft to the main trunk this spring and expect several feet of nice, straight growth this summer.

If you want a truly straight trunk, I’d stick with 3 but I’d probably leave everything and let it grow roots for a year. I could always pinch pack things during summer to encourage the branch I wanted to be dominant.

I like my trees to establish as quickly as possible. That tree is soooo tiny.

Ouch. That was sort of where I assumed it was going. With an established root system it shouldn’t be to bad. Wish me luck, this will be my first bark or cleft graft. Seems like I should go for a cleft graft with that diameter. Is that a correct assumption?

What’s everyone’s preference for grafting wax?

A cleft graft with two scions would work well, but if you’re uncertain about grafting you might want to follow @alan 's advice -he’s managed an awful lot of trees.

@alan glad to hear that you have also dealt with some misshapen trees. This poor thing was hit by deer a few times over two years then a fire blight hit that made me cut it back to where it is. It wouldn’t hurt to let it grow out another year and try to favor 3. I’ll have to try to get a better picture of how 3 is attached. that zig zag seems like it may be unstable in the long run.

Fire blight or peach leaf curl? FB only affect pears and apples to my knowledge. If you don’t mind a crook in the lower trunk (I don’t but some of my customers do) you can just let the tree grow and it will decide which branch will be dominant- probably #1. If you have squirrels you will want a straight trunk at least after the first foot so you can install a baffle.

The easiest way to establish trees in deer country is to use a single stake and a 10-12’ length of 5’ tall fencing to form a ring around it until the tree is above the browse line- at which point you will need a cylinder around the base of the tree about 3’ up from the ground to stop buck rubs- at least when the tree doesn’t have a baffle on it.

I’m speaking about white tails and how they behave in my region.

Its an Airlie apple. I don’t mind some odd shapes as long as I’m not exposing myself to issues in the future by it.
Up until this year I was reliant on chemical deer deterrents. For the most part it worked but they would still browse from time to time and on young trees that completely screwed up their structure. By the time I gave up and caged this one the damage was already done.

The Surround fooled me.