Warm Climate Apple Pruning
This is a bump from the "notes on chilling-hour thread" answering NilaJones' question on why we wanted thin, droopy branches on the Dixie Red Delight tree.
"Why that goal? I hope people don't mind the threadjack. I am awfully curious!
The tree looks very happy to me, despite the odd shape."
With our lack of chill apple trees tend to have a very vertical growth habit that makes lots of leaves but not much fruit. Sometimes branches near the base of the trunk will parallel it and be taller than the central leader. Other varieties like this neglected Fuji in a back yard has lots of vertical growth and produces way too many scaffolds; you see the mummified remains of a few apples but nothing like it can be. People just assume that the variety is not suited to our climate, which is not the case at all; when trained and pruned well it give a heavy crop of huge apples.
The other problem is it's 20 feet tall and no one can pick or prune out the fireblight. By training the tree when young to have drooping branches, the productivity is like night and day and you can achieve size control on even very vigorous rootstocks.