I think last year was their first full year in the new spot, and deer did a serious number on them last spring. I put tomato cages around them, which was a great way to protect the branches closest to the central trunk...but anything sticking out was still at risk. It was also a fun way to try to reshape the branches and really open up the tree shape - just bend the branches down (CAREFULLY) so they're poking out the cage at a lower angle.
Then we had the really cold winter, plus I figured deer would be around snacking on them again.
Well, they survived the winter just fine, and so far no signs of deer. And that means this is going on right now...
Wow! And just in case it's not obvious, this tree is shorter than me!
That's a sedum at the base - it volunteered there last year, I didn't have the heart to dig it out and compost it, and never followed through on transplanting it. Bad Jeph. Now it's getting well establish, and could be more of a problem to remove from the base of the apple tree. Then again, this is the healthiest of my apple trees with the most blooms - maybe I'm on to something! ;-)