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The Alder Tree is deciduous and is a
member of the Birch family.
It can reach heights of 30 metres
but is not considered a long lasting
tree with an average life span of
about 150 years.
The seeds are wind pollinated and
quite often the catkins are present
before the leaves appear.
There are two types of Alder trees:
the Red Alder which is native to the
west coast of North America and the
Black Alder which is mainly found
throughout the whole of Europe.
In Venice there are millions of piles
which support the city and the majority
of these piles are Alder.
The wood does not have much
strength when it is used for indoor
applications but use it under water,
put it under massive stresses and
the Alder is unbeatable.
Root nodules on the Alder are
amazing, they are roughly about the
size of a fist and produce a nitrogen
fixing bacteruim which greatly adds
to the fertility of the soil and therefore
helps future plants and trees.
It is a perfect tree for planting in
waterlogged sites or even
disused quarries, anywhere really
where you want to improve the
viability and stability of the land.
In the 1950's, Fender Stratocaster
started making electric guitars using
Alder wood for the bodies of these
guitars, as it gives a good tone and
is now used by many other
In Lancashire, Alder was used for
making clogs, however, the supply of
Alder dwindled and the clog makers
had to use Birch instead.
Celtic folklore holds the Alder tree
in great esteem as it was thought that
the trunk of the Alder was the entrance
to the fairy kingdom.
Gunpowder from the charcoal
of the Alder tree is probably the
best known of all the products
the tree produces!
Alder is traditionally used for
smoking salmon but is good with
any sort of fish.
It gives a light delicate flavour
with just a touch of sweetness.
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