Has been three years since I pruned the tree really, and not as heavily, ever, as I should have been doing. Also had not been physically up to doing what needed to be done. Today though, I felt pretty good. I wanted to take more than half of the canopy out of it. We need more wind and sun penetration for the tree. Left to its own devices, it has developed a half dozen central leaders internally in the tree.
I pruned from the ground until it was open enough on the lower scaffold for Nell to scamper up into it to start working on bigger stuff from the inside.
By the time her arm got tired from the pruning saw, she had it open enough that even I could get up into it.
We also plan on bending branches down with ropes attached to hooks on the ground. I want the tree to grow more out than up, and this one is vigorously reaching for the sun. When the wood softens later in the spring we will start working on that. If they are moved over the course of the summer to the positions you want, and harden off that way in the fall, they should stay in those horizontal positions.
Once we were done, Violet wanted her photo taken with her in the tree too. She is not tall enough to reach the lower scaffold branches so I gave her a boost up.
Our last task with this, was gathering scion wood for doing bench and field grafts later. I will trim all of these down, pack them in a zip loc bag in the crisper, and they will be fine for later.
So that is what it looks like now, and maybe I should have taken even more out of it, but I think 50-60% is enough to remove for one year. Spreading out the branches is going to give it a lot more width as well. I am going to move the compost pile to the north side of the tree, and plant tomatoes where the compost pile used to be.