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Zones 3-7, 14-17
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Alnus rubra

Red Alder
Betulaceae
Deciduous, Trees

ALNUS

Moisture-loving trees that thrive in moist or wet soils, even tolerate periodic flooding. Good near creeks and other waterways. Very fast growing. In all species, clusters of tassel-like, greenish yellow male flower catkins give interesting display before leafout. Female flowers develop into small woody cones that decorate bare branches in winter; these delight flower arrangers. Seeds attract birds. Alders need little pruning except to remove suckers, crossing branches, and dead wood.

Alnus rubra

Native to stream banks and marshy places from Alaska south to Northern California; usually found in areas with maritime influence. This is the most common alder of low lands in the Pacific Northwest. It can grow to 90 ft. high but is usually seen at 45–50 ft. tall and 20–30 ft. wide. Attractive bark is light gray and smooth. Dark green leaves are rust-colored and hairy beneath; coarsely toothed margins are rolled under. Red alder can take brackish water and is useful wherever underground water is somewhat saline. It’s generally disliked in the Pacific Northwest because it is a favorite of tent caterpillars.

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