I'm as far from being knowledgeable about apple trees as you can get.
Planted 12 about 5 years ago, caged them, no screen. The second winter they were all girdled completely around. I wrapped them tightly with strips of landscaping fabric and left them for dead.
Didn't even go back to look til this spring when I needed an exclusion cage and went to take one from my dead trees.
4 of them are living so you never know.