Alder Hedge Plant Description
It has many attractive aspects - long narrow male catkins in spring, tiny female woody cones which release seed in autumn but can stay on the plant longer - sometimes even more than one season (giving it some interest in mid winter), it is wildlife friendly (particularly for the caterpillars, butterflies and moths but also 90 insect species as well as small birds), but its greatest asset is its use near water and on very poor soil. It grows best in moist or even wet soil and will tolerate prolonged periods of standing in water up to 30cm deep.
Another great hedging plant for wet soils is Willow (Salix). It has a heavy, leafy canopy and the autumn leaf fall builds up the humus content of poor soil.
Alder is good at fixing atmospheric nitrogen not only for its own use but it also makes nitrogen available to other plants growing nearby. You can plant Alder as a single species hedge, or combine with other native species and allow them to receive the atmospheric benifits which Alder provides. It is good in all soils other than very alkaline, and in sun or semi shade and particularly good in coastal positions and due to its fast growth rate when young, it can be used to form an effective windbreak to protect other plants. Although deciduous, Alder keeps its leaves quite late, often into November.
Youll see our recommended planting densities for each size and root type listed in the product grid. We suggest that you use these as a guide, taking into consideration how long youre willing to wait to see your finished hedge. As a rough indication bare roots can be planted at anything from 3 to 7 per metre and cell grown between 4 and 6 - the higher densities here would need to be planted in a double staggered row or zig-zag.
For more information on planting distances please see our planting density advice section.
General hedge trimming should be done twice a year, once in early June and again in late September. It is important to prune at the right time, so as not to remove new growing shoots.
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