Smooth Alder (Alnus serrulata)

Common names:
Give a thumbs up Brookside Alder
Give a thumbs up Hazel Alder
Give a thumbs up Smooth Alder
Give a thumbs up Swamp Alder
Give a thumbs up Tag Alder
Give a thumbs up Common Alder

General Plant Information (Edit)
Plant Habit: Shrub
Life cycle: Perennial
Sun Requirements: Full Sun
Water Preferences: Wet
Wet Mesic
Minimum cold hardiness: Zone 4b -31.7 °C (-25 °F) to -28.9 °C (-20 °F)
Maximum recommended zone: Zone 8b
Plant Height: to 30 feet at maturity
Plant Spread: 12 feet
Leaves: Unusual foliage color
Flower Time: Spring
Suitable Locations: Bog gardening
Uses: Erosion control
Will Naturalize
Dynamic Accumulator: Nitrogen fixer
Propagation: Seeds: Stratify seeds
Pollinators: Wind
Containers: Not suitable for containers
Miscellaneous: Tolerates poor soil

full-grown shrub at pond

Photo gallery:

Posted by ILPARW (southeast Pennsylvania - Zone 6b) on Nov 23, 2017 8:57 PM

The Smooth Alder is an abundant shrub in southeast Pennsylvania in wet soil near ponds and watercourses. It is native from Maine to northern Florida and then to east Texas and up to southern Illinois along the Mississippi . It can range from 6 feet to 30 feet high, but usually is about 10 to 20 feet high. It is very similar to the Speckled Alder, but the leaves are widest just above the middle of the leaf, the leaf margins have small, fine teeth that are regular in formation, and it does not have the white or orange wart-like lenticels on the stems. It is fast growing of about 2 to 3 feet/year and lives about 40 years. It likes moist to draining wet soil that is about pH 6 to 7. I did see the Delaware Native Plant Society selling some of this species in pots and other native plant nurseries do offer this; not in conventional nurseries. I think it is a nice native shrub that is sort of birch-like, smooth, and clean for planting along water courses or bodies and in swamps. It is listed as being high in wildlife value by Gary Highshoe in his book of "Native Trees, Shrubs, and Vines."

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