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Alnus Genus

Alder

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General Needs

  • LightPart shade
  • HardinessFully hardy (min -15°C)
  • SoilWell drained, Fertile, Chalky
  • WaterMoist

Description

Alnus genus (Alder). This is a genus of around 30 species of monecieous, deciduous trees and shrubs. The flowers which are in the form of catkins are produced in late winter or early spring; the males are conspicuous and attractive, the females will form woody cone-like fruits. The upright trees are related to the birch (Betula). They are very fast growing and their roots will contain micro-organisms that can fix nitrogen from the air, adding to soil fertility.

Characteristics

Deciduous, Shrubs or Trees

Origin

Northern temperate zone.

The genus name Alnus is a latin name which derives from the Proto-Indo-European root of 'el' meaning 'red' or 'brown' and may refer to the sap of the outer bark, which is red.

Interest and use

Grown for the ability to thrive in wet situations. Hedging. Suitable for coastal conditions.

Alder wood is used in woodwork and cabinet making as is also the wood famously used to make Fender guitars as well as subsequent electric guitar manufacturers.

Alder wood is relatively water resistant as is the main kind of wood which was used to construct the foundations for the city of Venice.

The sap and bark was traditionally used to tan leather.

Cultivation

Can grow in semi-waterlogged soils.

Propagation

Propagate species by seed in autumn, and cultivators by budding in late summer or by hardwood cuttings in early winter.

Pests, diseases or disorders

Root rot.

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