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Hazel Alder Shrub

Hazel Alder Shrub

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Hazel Alder - Alnus serrulata

Also known as Smooth Alder, the Hazel Alder is a ticket-forming shrub native to eastern North America. It grows across western Nova Scotia and southern New Brunswick, extending south to Florida and Texas. Sometimes considered a small tree, these plants can rise as high as 13 feet with a diameter of nearly 6 inches. The leaves are quickly identifiable on alders as they have finely-toothed margins. They become a dark green color and are broad, flat, and about 2 to 4 inches in length. Round and straightforward, the leaves also take a V-shape at their vase and are smooth on top with fine hairs along the pale green bottom. The tree can take as much as ten years to mature and prefers moist areas near streams, ponds, or rivers. In general, some stems grow from its base and produce reddish-green flowers. Alders bloom in March and April, producing both male and female catkins of varying lengths. The fruit is cone-like with winged scales. Seeds grow in small cones but without wings. The fruit matures in the fall.

Hazel Alder prefers moist soils as well as full or partial sun. It also favors a soil type that is neutral in pH. Alders are used medicinally as a tea for a variety of aches and sores, or as a stringent or diuretic. It grows in zones 5 through 8 and is favorable for its ability to produce in very moist conditions. Alders do not require a lot of care for them to grow and establish themselves. A successful tree provides a dense growth of leaves at a relatively short height. Because these trees are fast growing, they are also preferred for landscaping purposes. Some fast-growing trees reach maturity early and die off, but the Hazel Alder takes ten years to reach its maturity and is therefore favorable in many landscaping projects. Native plants are always reliable and prosperous choices.