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We live in the Pennines and we have a "jupiter" apple tree which, due to the westerly winds has a permanent bend eastwards. It's about 7 years old and 4 metres high. However, one branch is only about a metre up the trunk and roughly 3cm thick. It yielded 2 apples last year. I all but pollarded the whole tree last year to correct the growth and sacrificed a years fruit and I'm not sure whether to saw the offending branch off this year in case I get another fruitless year. When it does fruit we get 80+ apples, although this year we had one.
I'm ready to prune it back a third this week, so can anyone recommend whether to chop off that low branch to balance the shape of the tree or merely prune it back?
I would leave it. The tree will find its own shape. I have a tree (that was here when I came) that is fighting to get out of the shade of an oak. It leans to one side permanently and only has fruit on one side. However with minimal pruning it does bear heavily every year. If you keep trying to force it to a different shape, you will never get a good crop.
If you want the tree to grow more evenly, you could look at the possibility of growing a shelter belt of some sort to filter the wind.
Thanks both. I'll leave it,