Alder (Alnus glutinosa)
Common Alder, Alnus glutinosa, is a fast growing neatly shaped tree which loves wet sites and supports over 90 animal species, including many garden moths. It's widespread across Europe. Alder has colourful yellow catkins in spring and cones in the winter, which attract birds, including the siskin, redpoll and goldfinch. Its bark is fissured and dark - hence one of its alternative names, "Black Alder". It needs moist soil of any type other than acid peats, and is commonly found in wet woods, fens, and streamsides - so numbers have fallen due to drainage and reclamation schemes. Italian Alders, Alnus cordata, which need less damp, are now often planted instead of our own Common Alder. It fixes nitrogen and is a very unfussy tree, tolerant of pollution and waterlogging, so useful as a pioneer species. We include Alder trees in our collection of trees for wet ground.
The Alder's quick growth and the fact it carries its leaves late make it a good screen tree, and helpful in many environments. It was traditionally coppiced to make clogs or charcoal for gunpowder, and, as the timber doesn't rot, it was often used for piles - for example, in Venice. In Ireland, Alnus glutinosa was much favoured and used to make milking pails for the same reason. Here, its bark was used to make a cheap black dye. Alder was also said to attract woodworm over other types of wood ! Today it has a variety of uses, including tool handles.
Plants For Sale
Provenance certificates are available on request for the smaller size trees, which are all guaranteed sourced from the West of England.
Smaller Sizes Suppliers: Perrie Hale Nursery, British Hardwood Tree Nursery, RV Roger
Standards Supplier: R.V.Roger
Your purchase helps us support a range of charities, which are related to the products we sell.
Please note that standard sizes relate to tree girths in cm. See our size guide for details and tips on planting your Alder tree.
These plants are bare root, and are consequently available for delivery from November until March. During the lifting season there may be up to two weeks delay between placing the order and dispatching, due to weather conditions or pressure of orders, which are dealt with in date sequence. Orders placed for Alders between March and October are confirmed for dispatch from November.
In addition to bare root plants, we also offer Alders as small cell grown plants. These have some soil around their roots and are a sort of half way house between bare root and pot grown. Their root systems are pretty small but they will establish well.
Time to Ultimate Height
Up to 50 years
Chalk, loam, clay - wet
Neutral, acid, alkaline
Sheltered or exposed