Q: What is your opinion about using branch spreaders to increase the crotch angle between the trunk and branches that are growing more upright than horizontal on a mountain ash tree? Is it a good idea or just a waste of time?
A: Apple growers use branch spreaders all the time to make their trees have better spaced and angled limbs. You could probably buy a few from an apple orchard in nearby Ellijay. Or you can make your own by driving a finishing nail into both ends of an appropriate length of 3/4″ dowel and clipping the nail head to make a sharp point. Wedge the spreader between the trunk and an upright limb to make it grow more horizontally.