Stewardship Species Alder Common Farm Stewardship Hedging
Common Alder (Alnus Glutinosa) is a versatile deciduous plant widely used in native hedgerow mixes, happily growing in a wide range of conditions. It is one of the best nitrogen-fixing species to plant in damp or wet areas, it’s roots containing buds which help to naturally condition the soil.
This variety is traditionally used as an orchard windbreak as this tree does not harbour pests and diseases but is superb used for screening and protection wherever required. Being a fast grower, young Alder trees can grow to around 2 metres in the first 2-3 years reaching an ultimate height in time of approximately 20 to 25 metres. It therefore provides a decent amount of shelter within a few years, having a good density of shiny green rounded leaves from early in springtime right through to the autumn.
Common Alder produces excellent shelter and fruit for wildlife, its flowers are in the form of catkins providing a great early source of pollen for bees in February and March and the rounded cone like fruits have seeds that are dispersed in winter by wind and water providing a useful winter food for birds.
Alder is easy to grow and maintain making it an excellent plant in the farming world and can be cut or coppiced to keep under control. Alder is widely used for coppicing, the wood being used in deep underwater foundations, made into paper, for joinery, fibreboard. The soft flexible wood, white when first cut turns a pale red, the knots in the wood having an appealingly mottled effect. The bark is also used in some health products.