Tennessee Smart Yards Native Plants

A comprehensive database of Tennessee native plants

Tag, Smooth or Common Alder

Tag, Smooth or Common Alder

Alnus serrulata

Full sun; wet to medium moisture level; tolerant of a wide range of soils; moderately acid to neutral pH.

10-20 feet height by 10-20 feet spread; forms male and female catkins in fall that turn into yellow tassels in early spring before leaves appear; fruit is a woody, cone-like structure.

Growth Rate:  Rapid

Maintenance:  Older plants can be rejuvenated by hard pruning, cutting back to 6 inches above ground when the plant is dormant.  Susceptible to alder aphids.

Propagation:  Easy from seed and moderately easy from division or hardwood cuttings.

Native Region:  Statewide

Occurs naturally in wet, swampy soil of stream banks and bogs.  Constantly suckers from base and roots to form large colonies; good at stabilizing soil. Can fix nitrogen in the soil and is able to colonize nutrient-poor areas, build up the soil and make it fit for other plants to follow.  In fall, leaves turn yellow, tinged with red.  Transplants easily.  May be difficult to find in nurseries.  Attracts butterflies, birds, deer and beaver.


One response to “Tag, Smooth or Common Alder

  1. Bruce Tschantz August 15, 2016 at 1:01 am

    What type of alder did I see recently (8/12/16) along Upper Citico Creek?..has stem groups of three miniature (green) cone clusters, unlike pictures I’ve seen of Hazel Alders.

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