Speckled Alder - <em>Alnus incana ssp. rugosa</em> - Zone 2 -

Speckled Alder - Alnus incana ssp. rugosa - Zone 2

Speckled Alder is a deciduous cross between shrub and tree that is found throughout most of Canada and the northeast United States.  Often found close to water on moist land, its Latin name alnus means ''close to the river''.

HeightAvailabilityPriceQuantitySubtotal
1-3 Feetin stock$12.00$0.00
10 x 1-3 Feetin stock$90.00$0.00
Total$0.00

The Tree

Speckled Alders generally grow in bushy, multi-trunked clumps and can reach heights of up to 8 meters, though more commonly around 3-4 meters.  Trunks can attain diameters up to 12 cm and are speckled with pores called lenticels. Life spans tend to top out at about 100 years. They adapt well to a wide variety of environmental conditions but prefer moist sites with full sunlight, growing less vigorously in shade. Most commonly found in open space close to water sources where they will regularly form pure stands. They will also often dominate the forest floor in wetland forests of Black Spruce, Eastern White Cedar and Balsam Poplar, flourishing rapidly in gaps in the canopy created by logging or forest fires. They have shallow but extensive root systems and propagate naturally by seed, root suckers, and layering. The flowers of the Speckled Alder are colourful and among the first to open with the arrival of spring.

Its Uses

These trees are an excellent pioneer species for rehabilitation of difficult sites such as disused farmland and mines or areas disturbed by forest fires.  They grow fast; have very leafy canopies that add significant nutrients to the soil in fall and bacteria on the roots fix nitrogen levels in the soil. This last, in addition to helping re-establish overall soil quality, can help improve timber yields of trees growing in close proximity and sharing in added nitrogen. Its extensive root system can help to control erosion along stream banks. Native American peoples used the bark to create dyes and for a variety of medicinal uses. The leaves, high in tannins, were used in tanning hides. The wood is not highly valued commercially but is known for producing very good quality charcoal. As firewood it is one of the softer hardwoods and burns relatively fast but very hot. It produces a pleasant odour when burned and produces a great deal of smoke when damp. As such it is popular with many as a wood for smoking meats.

CharacteristicValue
Height at maturity4 metres (12 feet)
Spacing3 metres (10 feet)
Hardiness zone2
SoilMoist
Sun / shadeFull sun
FloweringApril
Harvestn/a
Average fruit weightn/a
Fruit colorn/a
Years to bear fruitn/a
Pollinationn/a
Latin nameAlnus incana sp. rugosa
Average diameter of fruitn/a
Also known as