Tie me up, tie me down
Are you into apple bondage? Please..... Let's not pretend you aren't. The main goal of planting fruit trees is to grow a happy healthy specimen that produces high yields, so training a tree, along with pruning, is a necessary task. A healthy tree should be open and easy to harvest from, trained with a strong central leader or with one trunk in the center, and having strong limbs spaced around the leader. Since shade can inhibit the production of flowers, which results in loss of fruit, it's good practice to keep the interior of the tree open to allow for excellent light penetration. One way to train the young lateral branches, which still have flexibility, is to tie them down with some strong string or rope, as seen above. These branches can remain tied down for a year or two until they have been trained in the desired position, and can then be removed. Never tie them too tight, and always check to make sure the rope/string is not growing into the flesh of the tree.