Fall pruning apples


5 year old buck +
Is it ok to lightly prune apples in the fall. These trees were planted this spring. I am looking to prune all the small branches under the 4' mark. Last year I did not do this on the pear trees I planted and our snow pack broke the majority of them off. It peeled them right from the trunk. My plan is to cut these branches off and paint the trunks. What would be the harm in doing this?
As long as they've hardened off for winter you should be fine. I pruned my new seedlings the day I planted them. I snipped everything off to a single stem to enable them to grow better in a tube.
Summer pruning of water sprouts is normally done in July. It's mostly done to improve spray coverage and light distribution. Any shaping of the tree is normally done in late winter/early spring. If I was to take out a branch for whatever reason in the summer, I'd have done it before now to give it time to heal over before winter.

On newly planted trees I prune out broken branches and head the leader if needed. Other than that, any other pruning the first year would be if something broke for one reason or another. Then shape tree the following late winter/spring, even then I don't do to much the first year. If branches broke you either had poor nutrition to the tree, critters climbing, poor crotch angles and/or heavy icing.

It's not to uncommon for first year trees to have some nutritional needs. Don't worry to much , they will get stronger after a year or two as the root system grows.
I think the branches broke because they were incased in a 5' snow pack. It really set the trees back. I am trying to avoid that from happening again. I know everyone had a bad winter last year but a 5' snow pack is only slightly above average for us. The trees are growing great I just need to find away to get them through there first few winters.
Here is what I am dealing with. This is a 5' cage. This is early March and this snow is rock hard, you can walk on top without snow shoes. image.jpg
Here is what I am dealing with. This is a 5' cage. This is early March and this snow is rock hard, you can walk on top without snow shoes. View attachment 1650

Chummer - That's a lot of snow...Hopefully this winter will be more on the mild side..!

Could you take two pallets and lean them together like a teepee to protect the base from the block of ice?Regardless I think you need another ring of fencing to protect from browsing and bark chewing.
I used six foot fences this year and plan on extending them up if the trees ever make it. I have no idea how all the wild apples survived their first few years. I do have access to unlimited pallets, I would just have to haul them up to my camp. I might experiment with them.