Italian Alder, Alnus cordata, is a vigorous, deciduous tree that grows well on poor or waterlogged soils. It isn't ideal for a neatly clipped, formal garden hedge but it makes rough and ready country hedging. Italian Alder can reach 30 metres if it grows freely as a tree; 20 metres is more typical.
The plants on this page are young saplings, ideal for planting as hedging or in woodland projects. You can also buy larger Italian Alder trees here.
Browse the rest of our hedging and young trees here.
Italian Alder plants are only delivered bareroot, during winter (Nov-March).
Choosing a size:
When you are ordering Italian Alder plants for a hedge, we generally recommend that you use plants that are graded at 40/60cms or 60/80cms. They are cheaper than large plants, easier to handle and they will establish well in poor conditions. Use larger plants when you need a tall hedge quickly, or if you are going to let them grow into trees. All our hedge plants are measured by their height in centimetres above the ground (the roots aren't measured).
Spacing an Italian Alder Windbreak:
Plant Italian Alder hedging at 2 plants per metre, 50cms apart.
General description of Italian Alder plants:
Alnus cordata is a large, fast growing tree with glistening green leaves and a neat, tear-drop shaped canopy. It grows on wet sites and poor soils, including chalky ones, and it is the best alder for growing on drier sites. All alder trees enrich the soil with nitrogen, released from the colonies of nitrogen fixing bacteria living on their roots. This makes them perfect companion plants for reclaiming sites with degraded soil. Alder roots are strong and fibrous, which makes them very good at holding together loose soil.
Alders aren't generally planted as clipped hedges; Italian Alder is the one that we would really recommend for hedging. It looks good as a low-maintenance hedge that is clipped hard every other year. Italian Alder is an excellent screening and windbreak tree. It is quick to put on height and it doesn't get bent out of shape by the wind.
Yellow-brown catkins are produced in the spring along with the bright, edible foliage. 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 to plant Alder. New build, concrete foundations are not at risk.