British Gardening forum→tree pleaching / getting hornbeam to hold leaves over winter

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UK
ateepstera
Aug 27, 2020 8:21 AM CST
Hello all, looking for advice from anyone who has knowledge about pleaching.
Our neighbours cut down the hedge along our border. We live on a steep hill, so the wall is about 3 m high (the hedge was on top of that on their side)
So, we planted about 15 4m hornbeam trees along our property border last March (2019). We were told to leave them for a year to settle and they are all still doing very well and must have grown the best part of another metre this year. However, they did lose all their leaves last winter (I think the nursery advised this was expected due to the shock of relocation etc? They did say they thought the trees held their leaves the previous year)
We really want them to keep their leaves this year and I'm really keen to get some advice on whether we can make this happen? From what I understand, we have to keep them thinking they are a hedge rather than a tree, so would some pruning at the top be the best thing?
Which leads me on to the next question. We originally wanted them to be pleached (don't really care how formally, just to present more of a visual border. Can we just sort of plait them together or do we need some sort of trellis. 
And lastly, could anyone advise who is the best person for this? Gardener? Tree surgeon? Or another sort of specialist? 
Thank you in advance! 

 
 
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