Crab apple tree and fruits still on branches
Last year I planted a fairly young crab apple tree (Red Sentinel) which blossomed and fruited prolifically. I left all the fruits on the tree over winter to brighten the garden up, and in case it encouraged any birds to stop off and feed on them. They didn't. No surprise as there's not many in this neighbourhood at all, but I live in hope...!
So, I've now got loads of the fruits still on the tree, and I don't know what to do with them. I don't want to prune any branches as the tree is still young and settling in, and I'd like it to keep getting bigger to fill the space. Plus the fruits are on every branch.
Do I physically pick off all the fruit on the tree ready for it to bud again and produce more blossom this year, or do I leave them in place to eventually drop off naturally? What do I need to do with it now it's (almost) spring??
It's my first fruit tree - I'm much better with flowers and shrubs!