The Red Alder, also known as the Oregon Alder is a medium sized tree, growing to heights reaching 50-60 feet when mature. It is native to the West coast of North America, from Alaska, British Columbia, Canada, to Washington State, Oregon and Southern California. The species is rarely found more than 130 miles from the coast or at elevations greater than 2400 feet. The Red Alder's name is derived from the bright rust red color seen in damaged bark. The bark is smooth with mottling, mostly grey in color and is commonly partially covered in moss. Leaves are egg-shaped, 4-5" in length. Red Alder trees bear both female flowers as well as male catkins, which are clustered and tassel-like. Flowers develop in the spring, usually with the leaves, and develop into scaled cones. The Red Alder produces nitrogen-fixing bacteria in its roots, allowing it to grow in areas of semi-infertile or poor soil. It grows quickly and seeds agressively, allowing it to become one of the dominant species in clearcuts and areas of disturbed soil. It mixes well in the wild with coniferous forests as well as in pure stands.
The Red Alder is adaptable to a wide range of soil types from well drained soils to poorly drained clays as well as organic soils. It prefers full sun exposure but is tolerate to partial shade areas.
This species is in stock and available for pickup at our Arlington, WA location or available for delivery