We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is an Alder?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Jun 04, 2024
Our promise to you
All Things Nature is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At All Things Nature, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The term “alder” is used to describe trees and shrubs in the genus Aldus, which is widely spread throughout the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. There are a number of uses for alder wood, ranging from smoking fish to furniture, and it is an enduring and popular wood, especially in the United States.

Alders are deciduous, losing their leaves in the winter, and they are also flowering, bearing flowers in the form of catkins. Catkins are cylindrical clusters of very small flowers which look sort of like drooping, feathery fingers; pollen from the male catkins reaches the much smaller female catkins, which develop into cone-like structures once they are fertilized. The trees have simple, toothed leaves, and distinctively scaly bark which often grows deeply pitted in older specimens.

These trees are members of the birch family, Betulaceae, and they prefer moist, cool environments. You can often find alder trees along a stream, for example, and some people use the trees to identify potential sources of underground water and springs. Alders are also very sturdy, fast-growing trees, which can be a distinct advantage after a fire or on damaged land. In some regions, alders are planted for erosion control, to prevent the loss of topsoil in regions which have been denuded of vegetation. The trees also provide habitat for birds, and they often pair with nitrogen fixing bacteria, improving the soil where they grow.

One particularly famous variety of alder is the red alder, which produces distinctively colored wood. The wood is in fact red when freshly harvested, although it mellows to a rich yellow as it ages. Many furniture makers like to use red alder, and it is also well suited to smoking. The durability of the wood is also a valuable trait; alder wood is resistant to rot and insect infestations, which is why many people used it historically in foundations.

In addition to being used for their wood, alders can also be planted for ornamental purposes. Some people find alders quite aesthetically pleasing, and because they grow quickly, they can be planted in an area where a privacy screen is considered important. The trees take well to pruning and shaping, for people who want a more controlled look, or they can be allowed to grow naturally, in which case a thicket will gradually form.

All Things Nature is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a All Things Nature researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
By ivanka — On Aug 30, 2008

Alders when planted along stream borders protect the soil from being washed away. They also keep the stream cleaner. Similar to willows, alders assist in drainage of wet soil.

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

All Things Nature, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.