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Native Plant Guide

Information and Services for King County, Washington

red alder

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Red alder leaf
© Greg Rabourn
Red alder leaf (enlarge)
red alder bark

Alnus rubra

Deciduous Tree

Height: 120 ft.

Availability: Medium

Growing ease: High

Moisture req.: dry - wet

Exposure req.: sun - part shade


Plant description:

Alders are a succession species, that is, they easily come in after forest fires, mass erosion or landslides to fill up the open space almost over-night! Fast growing, they also have relatively short lives by tree standards so it is best not to plant them too close to buildings. When they fall, it tends to be all at once rather than branch by branch. They have the ability to set nitrogen in the soil, so they are a great species to neutrify the soil and prepare it for a coniferous woodland that often follows. Having smaller leaves, alders provide filtered light, not the dark shade of other trees.They are excellent for waterside and boggy sites. Their chief beauty is the speckled bark that shows well in the winter. They also have light, golden leaves in the autumn.

Keywords: birds, butterflies, drought tolerant, fast, spreading, upright

Plans that use this plant:Wet, part shade