Aphid lesson learned
I was up in the Gala tree bagging today, when I discovered - hey, this tree needs more pruning to open it up! At the same time I discovered - hey, this tree has a lot more aphids* than I thought it did!
Of course it was all the same problem. Where the branches were overcrowded together, there were the aphids. Where the aphids were, there were stunted clusters of useless apples.
As it happens, I always bring the pruners with me when I bag and thin the apples. Now the tree looks great, a trash can is filled with excess growth, and all the nasty infested clusters are in there too.
Just in case I needed another reason to prune vigorously.