Pruning and Training to a Central Leader
The day you plant your trees is the day you should begin to prune and train for future production. Too often, backyard growers plant apple and pear trees and leave them untended for several years. This neglect results in poor growth and delayed fruiting.
The purpose of pruning a young tree is to control its shape by developing a strong, well-balanced framework of scaffold branches. Unwanted branches should be removed or cut back early to avoid the necessity of large cuts in later years. Currently, the preferred method of pruning and training nontrellised trees is the central leader system.
Pruning should be done in late winter. Winter pruning of apple trees consists of removing undesirable limbs and tipping terminals to encourage branching. Summer training is most beneficial if done in early June and early August.