Alder has a conical growth habit (it grows in a pyramid shape) and dark green, glossy, rounded leaves. In early spring it produces yellow catkins followed by clusters of woody fruits that resemble pinecones; they hang like baubles on the bare trees over winter. When cut, the pale wood turns a deep orange, giving the impression of bleeding, this lead many people throughout history to fear alder trees and the Irish even thought it was unlucky to pass one on a journey.
Estimate full grown height: 20 metres, growing an estimated 60cm+ each year.
Purchase size and growth: These trees are cell-grown saplings, ranging from approximately 15cm-60cm in height. Cell grown trees can be planted all year round in most situations as long as they are given the correct care. Please be aware that depending upon the time of year you receive your sapling (particularly early spring) it may not look very perky upon arrival, please do not worry once it has been planted it should pick up quickly.
Due to excellent growing conditions, some of our saplings are now slightly bigger than 60cm. This means some customers may receive a sapling that is up to 80cm tall. If you do receive a taller sapling, it will arrive with a slight curve in the top of the stem in order to fit it into the box. This should straighten out once planted, usually within four weeks. No matter which size you'll receive, all of our saplings are healthy and should grow into strong, sturdy trees. Unfortunately, we cannot determine which customers will receive the taller saplings as they are chosen at random.
Value to wildlife: Alder is the food plant for the caterpillars of several moths including the alder kitten, pebble hook-tip, autumnal and blue bordered carpet moth. Catkins provide an early source of nectar and pollen for bees, and the seeds are eaten by the siskin, redpoll and goldfinch.
Preferred soil type or environmental conditions: Tolerates most conditions and soils, especially damp areas. On drier soils it grows as a bush.
UK and Ireland Sourced and Grown (UKISG): Every sapling that we provide is UK and Ireland sourced and grown to minimise the risk of importing and spreading tree pests and diseases. Seeds are collected and stored in the UK and Ireland, and they are all coded and batched so that we can track each individual tree.
Learn more about this tree on our alder species profile.