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The Tag Alder, the Alnus incana is a large deciduous shrub that can grow to tree size.
Its leaves are not particularly unique, as they are dull and serrated. Its reproduction utilizes the male and female flowers called catkins. Catkins are long dangling cylindrical flower clusters that hang from the shrub. These catkins are pollinated by the wind and by bees. The yellow-toned male catkins are longer and more stable, while at maturity, the darker-reddish female catkins disintegrate. These flowers present themselves in March to early April each year.
The Tag Alder produces a nitrogen-fixing bacterium that forms into a root nodule. These are light brown fist-sized lobes are created when the Tag Alder produces sugars. Photosynthesis provides the sugars that feed the bacterium, while it absorbs nitrogen. The root nodules are then deposited into the soil making it more fertile. The Adler enriches the surrounding land by as much as 290 pounds per acre.
The Tag Alder prefers wet soils and very light shade to full sun.
Its leaves are dull green with shallow-lobes and double-toothed margins. Horizontal lenticels of a bright color mark the bark on the shrub. It produces stalked, large and blunt leaf buds before spring that have two outer scales.
It can be found growing in coniferous swamps, in bogs, along streams, in sedge meadows, in roadside ditches, and in shrub-carr. It can usually be found in a thicket or clumps in zones 3-6 in the northeastern United States and the Great Lakes. At maturity, it reaches heights of 15 to 25 feet with a width of 15 to 25 feet.
The Tag Alder can survive in non-fertile soils and acidic soils as it is known for adding to the fertility of the soil because of its distribution of root nodules. It bears a fruit called Samaras, which are a single-seeded, winged to wingless 1 mm dry pod. Mostly, it’s a thin tissue surrounding an ovary wall. It can easily be blown along by the wind. Propagating the Tag Alder is best accomplished with seedlings or transplants. Bare root seedlings easily grow. Healthy transplants can adjust quickly to a new temperate environment.
This is a tall tree that looks great planted against any backdrop or alone. This tree loves moist, well-drained soils and can grow well in almost any condition. The Alder tree can come in over 100 different varieties and make a great shade tree.