Red Alder (Alnus rubra)
|Common Name||Latin Name||Plant Family|
A fast-growing and very wind resistant tree, it is an excellent plant for providing rapidly produced shelterbelts[K]. The trees extensive root system also makes it suitable for controlling erosion along the banks of rivers.
This is an excellent pioneer species for re-establishing woodlands on disused farmland, difficult sites etc. Its fast rate of growth means that it quickly provides sheltered conditions to allow more permanent woodland trees to become established. In addition, bacteria on the roots fix atmospheric nitrogen – whilst this enables the tree to grow well in quite poor soils it also makes some of this nitrogen available to other plants growing nearby. Alder trees also have a heavy leaf canopy and when the leaves fall in the autumn they help to build up the humus content of the soil. Alder seedlings do not compete well in shady woodland conditions and so this species gradually dies out as the other trees become established[K].
Tannin is obtained from the bark and the strobils.
Both the roots and the young shoots have been used in making baskets.
A red to brown dye is obtained from the bark[61, 118, 257].
Wood – soft, brittle, not strong, light, close and straight-grained, very durable in water. An important lumber tree, it makes a good imitation mahogany[60, 103] and is used for cheap furniture etc[46, 61, 82, 171, 229]. A good fuel, it does not spark so can be used in the open[60, 118, 172], it also makes a high grade charcoal.
Cultivation & Habitat
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