Timberpedia - Alder (Common)
|Latin Name:||Irish Name:||Native to Ireland?|
About the Tree
This tree is happy to grow in quite wet conditions. Indeed, prior to the drainage and reclamation
of land demanded by agricultural progress, alder was very common and grew in large areas,
frequently alongside oak.
Field drains are an ideal source of water for alders and farmers are regularly frustrated by finding
their drains completely blocked with roots.
The tree is able to “fix” nitrogen, thanks to bacteria that live on the tree’s roots. This means that
alder can thrive in wet conditions, such as in boggy areas or on the banks of streams (where the
nitrogen would otherwise be washed out of the soil).
About the Wood
When first exposed to fresh air, the wood turns orange in colour.
The wood of the Alder is light, quite brittle when young and easily worked. It is often worked while still green and will turn well on a lathe. The cream coloured newly cut wood turns a pink orange veined.
Alder is suitable for wood turning and is often used to make electric guitar bodies (such as the
Fender Stratocastor). In the past alder was also used to make clogs and because the wood
hardens when immersed in water it was suitable for making piles.
As firewood, alder burns quite fast but it good wood for charcoal making.
Know your wood! The Timberpedia is a broad resource that aims to catalogue all the major tree species in Ireland, containing information that we’ve gathered from over two decades maintaining our natural woodland and serving Ireland’s woodworking industry.
All written material is copyright © 2021 by the Lisnavagh Timber Project.