Our "tame" orchard is a mix of really old trees--75 years old or older--and the ones we've planted in the last ten years. And they have been shown the results of a mix of trimming styles in these last ten years. Two summers ago we experienced a major case of fire blight for which we had to cut off and burn all the affected branches. So they were a little out of control!
We've read many how-to articles in books or on the Internet on trimming apple trees, but this time we decided to bring in someone to help. So enter our local expert, Konrad, who gave us lessons on what to cut and why, and what to watch out for around the base of the trees. And we learned a lot! He was almost like a tree-whisperer as he decided which were the leader branches and which ones needed to go for the good of the tree. It was an afternoon well spent!
And because temps were up in the 40s, we had to tap a couple of maples. Here I am with the brace and bit drill on the first tree. The key is to drill it up at a slight angle in order to get gravity working for you when it starts running. It was slightly moist inside the hole but no drips. It seems really early, especially compared to last year, but we'll see what the next few days brings.
So below are the two trees (looks like one, but two close together) near the house, each with a bucket to catch the sap.