At this time of year, I'll make just a few corrective pruning cuts help shape this tree. I don't like to cut off too much at this time of year because dormant pruning often forces the tree to regrow in unexpected ways.
Its easiest to spot tree structural problems during the dormant season when limbs are not hidden among the leaves. So once I spotted this low limb growing straight upwards, I got out my pruning saw.
After these cuts were made the upper portion of the central leader became fully exposed to sunlight. The additional sunlight should stimulate the development of lateral branches further up the trunk and encourage the leader to continue growing straight up.
I'll be back to this tree once spring's new growth has begun and I can make additional pruning cuts to direct the growth.