Need advice on tree trimming - and what kind of plants are these?

I just moved into a new house in the midwest and am trying to get the yard under control. I know very little about taking care of trees and plants, I mostly just mow and trim. So I have some questions about the yard I hope you can help me with.
There is some type of apple tree in the back yard (small yellow apples), and it is very bushy around the bottom, it looks like there are 10 or so 'tree trunks'. There are also branches growing completely sideways all over, tyring to reach out for sunlight I assume. Should I be cutting all of these off? I'd like to have the area next to the tree clear of branches up to 6-7 foot or so, so you can walk all the way around it. There also seems to be some kind of bush growing right next to it, or maybe thats still part of the tree. Should I rip all this out? Pictures here:
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/2710/smapple1wz2.jpg
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/8798/smapple2vv7.jpg I wonder if I should cut most of the tree trunks out and leave the 2-4 'best' ones?
Then there is the tree in the front yard. Its pretty small, maybe 10 feet, and doesn't look very good. Should I cut off some of the branches on the bottom, to encourage height? It doesn't look like its shaped right at all. Pic:
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/9575/fronttreeuo9.jpg
Also there is a tree thats close to the house, and in our contract we had the sellers trim so it wouldn't be touching the house any more. So they hacked off some pretty large branches (quick & easy I guess), but it looks like the tree is bleeding where they cut it off:
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/3097/smbleed1xz0.jpg
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/66/smbleed2as0.jpg
Should I do something with those? Is the tree at risk of damage now?
OK, then there are some things growing in the back yard that I have no idea what they are, and I don't know if I should get rid of them or if its something I might want. They are building a new 4 lane road 100 feet behind my lot, and I will want something between the house and the road eventually. this is in a corner of the back yard:
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/5941/smunknown1jv7.jpg close up of leaves:
http://img156.imageshack.us/img156/6063/unknown1closeup1rc6.jpg
Then there's this stuff growing right behind my fence:
http://img236.imageshack.us/img236/7311/unknown2sd2.jpg close up:
http://img235.imageshack.us/img235/2082/smunknown2closeupbb1.jpg
Thanks a lot for any help! -Ryan
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

First I'd want to know if the apples taste good. Doesn't matter if they are small or buggy, you can deal with that later when the tree is healthy.
I'd try to trim it to one trunk. Not sure if you can get there in one year; also you'd want to make sure you saved the original trunk if it's a grafted tree. (Or just save the biggest healthiest trunk and plan on grafting or budding it if its fruit is lousy.)
The mostly horizontal branches are likely the good ones.
Bob
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com said:

I'd rip it out. Most likely the healthiest, strongest stems are from the rootstock and the ones from the 'named' variety are weaker (propably in the middle). If you want to grow apples, you're better off getting types you like grafted onto dwarfing rootstocks and training them properly while they grow. Inheriting ill-managed standard sized apple trees is, in my experience, a tempting thing, but ultimately a royal pain. (You end up with some nice apple wood .)

You could trim off some of the lower branches in the fall. And move those rocks out away from the trunk while you are at it. And give it a nice soaking. (The grass growing right up around it isn't doing it any favors.)

Take the whole thing out. It's a mulberry, almost certainly a volunteer that someone should have pulled out several years ago.

Maybe some sort of elm. I pull a lot of weedy elms out around here. I would remove that one, too. Evergreens would be a better year-round screen from road traffic.

Look like you may have some sunflowers growing there.
--
Pat in Plymouth MI ('someplace.net' is comcast)

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