The apple trees were about 18″ tall when we planted them. Six were originally planted, with the idea of making an espalier apple tree fence. Of the six, three have survived and grown pretty well. Since they were unattended most of their first years, the trees had a rough start without regular watering and of course, the deer that just seem to eat everything.
We have arranged the branches from time to time to attempt to train their direction of growth to grow along the wires on the fence. This year, we got the nippers out and trimmed off the growth that headed in the wrong direction, and cutting back growth that was in the right direction. Our thoughts are that this will increase the likelyhood of the trees forming blooms, and later, fruit.