Red Robin – Photinia Fraseri
Initially I would suggest Photinia fraseri ‘Red Robin’. It is normally grown as a shrub (so if you are looking for information you will find it in books about shrubs). A lot of nurseries, including ourselves, supply them as a clear stem tree (trunk from root to first branch break 150-180cm is classed as a standard). They grow 6m – 7m. It is a tree that can take hard pruning and cutting with a hedge cutter – so as tough as old boots! Can stand heavy chalk soil and exposed windy conditions. I would not use direct onto the sea, but second road back should be fine. Will grow on acidic clay soil but will not stand growing on water-logged ground. The new growth in the spring is a strong vibrant red, slowly turning green then staying green through the winter months. The leaf shed is normally March through to June. This old tired foliage will mostly be replenished. Has clusters of white flowers in the spring (stunning) followed by red to orange berries which the birds love.
Portugese Laurel - 'Prunus Lusitanica'
As a standard evergreen tree, it has a smaller leaf than most evergreens. The slightly darker green leaf produces cone shaped clusters of white flowers followed by green-red turning to sometimes dark purple to black berries in the autumn. The berries are not poisonous and the birds love them. A slower growing evergreen, the Portugese Laurel keeps a better shape than most and can be shaped to size. I would use it for creating a screen within the outer perimeter of a garden as the smaller foliage can be lost at the end of a garden. I would always recommend a larger leafed tree for screenage on the perimeter of the garden. Very hardy grower on chalk soils.
Carolina Cherry Laurel - 'Prunus Caroliniana'
I would say this has a slightly mid to lightish-green leaf, although there are a lot of differing opinions on the true colour! The trees I have dealt with so far are a mid to light colour, not dark leaves. It will survive on poorly drained, compacted soil. It will also stand drought conditions and pollution. Again, this is an inner screenage tree because of the mid to small leaf. It has white flowers followed by black berries. The berries are not poisonous and the birds love them.