Red alder - what zones???

truffler1635 at truffler1635 at
Sat Oct 30 11:11:24 EST 1999

In article <PbCS3.6611$hK6.338427 at>,
  "Mike the Tree Doctor" <mlamana at> wrote:
> Folks:
> Am interested in propagating some red alder (Alnus rubra) for a project in
> New England. Any ideas / experiences with cold hardiness and adaptability.
> The provenance in hand is from central, coastal Oregon.
> Thanks in advance!

Can't help you much with the zones, Mike. But Red alder is found from
British Columbia through central California along the coast, and inland
at least as far east as Montana. It is abundant on recent slide areas
where mineral soil has been exposed on the slopes of Mt. Hood to at
least 2500 feet elevation, and I've seen it as high as 3600' near
Timothy Lake.

I'm not saying your source is incorrect, as Red alder _can_ grow along
creek and river bottoms, such as the Deschutes River in central Oregon.
But east of the Cascade Mountains it typically is much less abundant
than some of the related alders. The most common of these drier-land
alders is Thinleaf alder, which I've seen abundantly along the John Day
River and tributaries.

I'd say Red alder doesn't care for harsh winters: stay away from heavy
snowfalls over 2 feet in depth, although snowfall accumulations to 8
feet don't seem to bother it. It likes _lots_ of rainfall. But the
brittle wood doesn't hold up well with freezing rain. It *may* need
Alpova diplophloeus (a rather edible truffle) for both mycorrhizae and
symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, one of the traits alder is
prized for.

The tree is prone to disease and fungal infections: a wide host of
pathogenic and saprophytic fungi love growing on it. Most of these have
some commercial application, which is kind of nice if you like growing
mushrooms. Pleurocybella porrigens, Hericium erinaceus, Grifola
frondosa, Pleurotus ostreatus, Pluteus cervinus, Lentinula edodes,
Ganoderma lucidum, and a host of other fungi have already been
cultivated on either Red alder bedlogs or sterilized chips/sawdust mixed
with 5-10% bran by weight, with a little (up to 1%) CaC04 added to amend
the pH.

The tree can reach 130 feet in protected areas, at least, and can grow
up to 12 feet per year in Clark County, Washington. In stands where the
tree is being grown for mushroom bedlog production, Yearly basal pruning
and thinning is necessary. Trunks over 80 feet and relatively straight
are esteemed for lumber production, especially by the Japanese who enjoy
the light-colored (nearly white) wood.

Hope this helps some.

Daniel B. Wheeler

Sent via
Before you buy.

More information about the Plantbio mailing list