Grey Alder Sapling Trees

General Info Wildlife Value
Area Coastal Areas, Exposed Windy Areas, Frost Pockets
Soil Acidic, Poor/Dry, Wet
Ornamental Autumn Colour
  Buy 11 or more bareroot plants and save

SIZES 1-10 11-5051-250251-10001001+
60/80 cm Bareroot Out of Stock £2.82Out of Stock£2.26Out of Stock£1.98Out of Stock£1.84Out of Stock£1.69
90/120 cm Bareroot Out of Stock £3.72Out of Stock£2.98Out of Stock£2.60Out of Stock£2.42Out of Stock£2.23
  Prices include VAT(where applicable)



Alder, Grey needs...
  • Rootgrow Root Stimulant


    From £6.00

  • Tree Planting pack - mulch mat, pegs, stake and tie

    Tree Planting Pack

    From £10.19

  • Afterplant for Trees and Shrubs

    Rootgrow, Afterplant Tree & Shrub

    From £6.95

Alnus incana: Bareroot Grey Alder Sapling Trees

Grey Alder, Alnus incana, is a hardy, vigorous tree that loves wet sites and will thrive on poor soil if it is in full sun. It tends to produce suckering stems from the base of the tree that are good for supporting wildlife. It has silver-grey young leaves and shoots, and the bark is also grey. The decorative, 10cm long, yellow-pink male catkins appear in early spring, alongside the green female cones, which mature by the autumn. The seed is wind borne, but some small birds will still snack on a few of them.
The alders are pioneer species: they are quick to take advantage of open soil, quick to reach maturity and quick to die, by tree standards. After 90-100 years, the main trunk will begin to die back. If its lower stems are in the shade, the whole tree will die. This process is an essential part of woodland ecosystems and alders are often planted as companion trees for other, slower growing plants (like Oak) in forestry projects.
It can reach 30 metres in ideal conditions, but 20-22 metres is more normal.

The plants on this page are young saplings, ideal for woodland planting projects. You can also buy larger Grey Alder trees and the ornamental variety, Alnus incana 'Aurea', either of which will give you more of an instant impact in a garden. Have a look at the rest of our hedging plants and sapling trees.

Grey Alder plants are only delivered bareroot, during winter (Nov-March).

Choosing a size:
For any large scale planting, we recommend that you use plants that are graded at 60/80cms, especially if you are using them for a rough hedge. They are cheaper than large plants, easier to handle, and they will establish well in poor conditions. Use larger plants if you want a tall tree quickly or if your project is small and easy to manage.
All our sapling trees are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).


  • Size sold: 60-80cm & 90-120cm
  • Height: To 3-4m as a rough hedge, or 20-30m as a tree.
  • Site: Most soils except very alkaline or acidic. Loves very wet places, needs good sun.
  • Use: Wildlife cover, pioneer tree for regeneration projects.
  • Very vigorous.
  • Roots can damage foundations of old buildings.

Growing Grey Alder

This is a vigorous tree that will grow in any soil apart from chalk or very acidic peat. It needs plenty of sun and although it will grow fine on dry soil with your help to establish, in the wild it prefers wet sites that are prone to waterlogging. It is very hardy and will be happy in the coldest Scottish frost pockets or exposed hillsides.

Note on Alder roots: Alder has invasive roots that can break old water pipes and damage the foundations of old buildings or walls. 30 metres away from vulnerable structures is a safe distance. New build, concrete foundations are not at risk.

Spacing a Grey Alder hedge (see note below): Standard country hedging: plant at 3 per metre, 33cm apart in a single row, or 5 per metre in a staggered double row, which has a W shape viewed top-down.

Grey Alder in your Garden

It can be used in a rough country hedge, but we really recommend Italian Alder or Common Alder instead for this. It is a good choice for creating shelter for water fowl, just hack it back every few years to encourage suckering from the roots, and you will end up with a wild thicket of stems before long.

Did You Know?

A European and Russian tree that was introduced to Britain in the 1700's. The wood isn't very strong or good to burn, but it is highly rot resistant to water (although not when in contact with the soil as well) and easy to carve. It is a traditional material for making clogs and kitchen implements, and saw some use as pipes, gutters, and shingles. Because it conducts heat poorly and expands very little in wet or humid conditions, it is a good choice for the interior of saunas, and things like drawers or barrels for liquid.

Other common names include Speckled or Hoary Alder.

  • Small Box

    Small boxes

    (Orders containing seedlings or rooted cuttings)


    including VAT per order

  • Small box

    (All barerooted plants under 1.2 metres in height. Please note: all trees are charged at the trees and hedging rate.)


    including VAT per order

  • Medium box

    (Any pots up to
    and incl. 7.5L)


    including VAT per order

  • Trees & Hedging

    (For all orders of trees of any size, and all bareroot plants 1.2 metres and over in height)


    including VAT per order

  • Pallets

    (For all orders of root balls,
    and large orders, a pallet
    price will be automatically
    applied at checkout)


    including VAT per order

*Delivery to mainland Britain & the Isle of Wight ONLY. Surcharges to the Isle of Wight and some areas of Scotland apply.

Bareroot planting is best done between November and April
Bareroot and potted - what's the difference?

We do use cookies, which are bits of code that stay on your browser. They help you to buy products from us online in a convenient and secure manner, and help us to improve and give you the smooth service that you desire.

Thank you, The Ashridge Nurseries Team.

Back to top