Red Maple Pruning Question
I was given a 2-3' tall red maple last fall and promptly planted it. This past spring and summer it put on leaves very nicely and grew about a foot. I knew when it was given to me it would need some pruning but I wanted it to go through at least one good growth cycle to establish some good roots in it's new home. Now that fall/winter is upon us, I am trying to decide the best route for pruning this little guy. As you can see from the pic, there is a small new growth coming out of the very top, which looks like it could very easily take off as the leader. But just below that there is a very prominent side branch that I am wondering if I should let try and straighten out and take over as the leader or prune it off so the tree can focus on growing the small growth on top. I've read through a lot of the other pruning posts and I'm leaning towards pruning the side branch and let the new little growth take over, but wanted to get some advice from more experienced pruners. Thank you in advance.