Central leader issue - now what?


This year I had an issue with tent catapillers in an apple tree and they killed the top portion of the central leader. The tree was a container tree and has had at least 2 full years in the ground and is other wise healthy.

I figure I have options:
1 - graft in to the central leader
2 - try to score the bark in a manner to encourage a new central leader to form.
3 - do nothing and see how the tree responds on it's own.
1. Not unless you want to change the variety for some reason.
2. You could, but you might as well cut back to living wood and then train a new cental leader when buds start to push new growth.
3. No reason to, when you could just do option 2. :)
Kinda early to be doing anything, ain't it?
I would do nothing. The tree should come back. It usually takes two years of tent catapillars to kill a tree.
I think I got to the catapillers in time, but they did a number on the top portion of that central leader. The tree is otherwise healthy from what I saw - I ended up cutting the damaged part back to healthy wood. I was just concerned about the leader as I need the tree to grow more vertically our of easy reach of the deer and I am affraid this issue may cause the tree to want to grow out and not up.

Sounds like I will let a branch sprout from what is left of the central leader and allow/train it to become the new one.
You will likely get multiple new shoots close to where you cut. Either remove or tie down all but one strong one to get that new leader.
One other piece of input is to make sure that your 'cut into good wood' is at an angle to the ground and just slightly above a bud. You don't want to leave a 'stub leader' above that bud that will die and provide a pathway for disease to enter the tree.
The cut into good wood was at an angle - I figured it would lessen the chance of water and rot - I will have to see what sprouts.
Leave it. Most likely nothing is wrong with the tree itself. They just munch leaves. Every year I have some that get whacked by them and the tree is fine the next year.