Red Robin Hedging container grown hedging perfect for Spring planting


Alder Hedge Plants

Alder Hedging is a fast growing, attractive hedging species that is highly tolerant of wet soils or waterlogged gardens and will also improve the quality of poor soil conditions.

Alder hedging consists of Alnus Glutinosa, also known as Common Alder and Alnus Cordata, also known as Italian Alder.

Popular varieties of Alder Hedge Plants

Choose from our most popular varieties of Alder Hedging plants, available in a range of sizes and root types.

Common Alder Hedge

Common Alder Hedge

(Alnus glutinosa)

Alnus glutinosa is a fast growing, native, deciduous plant that has glossy, dark green foliage and brown catkins in the autumn that thrives in wet soil.

Growth rate: Very Fast 60cm+ per year

Overall height: Tall up to 7.5 metres

Position: Exposed, Full Sun, Coastal

Root Types: Bare Root, Pot Grown

Italian Alder Hedge

Italian Alder Hedge

(Alnus cordata)

Italian Alder is a fast growing, deciduous plant that has yellow catkins in the spring followed by glossy, dark green foliage that turn yellow in the autumn.

Growth rate: Very Fast 60cm+ per year

Overall height: Tall up to 7.5 metres

Position: Coastal, Exposed

Root Types: Bare Root, Pot Grown

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A Complete Guide to Alder Hedges

Alder Hedge plants, scientifically known as Alnus Glutinosa, are an ideal choice for transforming your garden into a vibrant, living barrier that offers privacy and adds aesthetic appeal.

Known for their rapid growth and attractive, glossy, dark green foliage, these native, deciduous plants are particularly resilient, flourishing even in wet or waterlogged soil.

Brown catkins add an eye-catching contrast in the autumn, making the Common Alder a display of nature's beauty throughout the seasons. Beyond their visual appeal, Alder hedges also contribute to improving soil quality, making them not only a beautiful but also a practical addition to your garden.

Popular Species of Alder

There are two main species of Alder that are used for hedging in the UK.

Available Root Types

Bare rooted hedges are the most economical if your on a budget, or you can choose more established pot grown plants.

Annual Growth rate

The annual growth rate of Alder hedges is quite impressive, especially considering their ability to thrive in a variety of soil types. On average, both Common Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and Italian Alder (Alnus cordata) can grow approximately 40-60cm per year. This fast growth rate makes them an excellent choice for those seeking to establish a robust and attractive hedge in a relatively short period.

Key Features and Benefits of Alder Hedging

  • Alder Hedging provides a thick, dense cover, ensuring privacy and creating a natural barrier in your garden.
  • These plants are fast-growing, allowing for quick formation of hedges or screens.
  • They are highly tolerant of wet or waterlogged soil, making them suitable for gardens with poor drainage.
  • Alder Hedging is known for its beautiful, glossy, dark green foliage that adds a vibrant touch to your garden.
  • The Common Alder variety showcases brown catkins in autumn, adding an interesting visual contrast.
  • The Italian Alder variety displays yellow catkins in spring, followed by green leaves that turn yellow in the autumn.
  • Alder Hedging plants are known to improve soil quality, making them not only aesthetically pleasing but also beneficial for your garden's health.
  • They act as a natural habitat for wildlife, fostering biodiversity in your garden.
  • Alder Hedging is a resilient species, capable of withstanding harsh weather conditions.
  • They require minimal maintenance, making them an ideal choice for both amateur and experienced gardeners.

Planting your Alder Hedge Plants

How to plant an Alder Hedge

For a step by step process on how to plant a hedge, please see our comprehensive hedge planting guide.

When to plant an Alder Hedge

The best time to plant an Alder Hedge is during the dormant season, typically between late autumn and early spring. This allows the roots to establish themselves before the growing season begins. However, if you choose Alder plants that have been container-grown, these can be planted any time of the year, as their roots are already well established. Bear in mind that adequate watering is crucial during the first few years particularly during periods of dry weather.

Alder Hedge Plant Spacing & Distances

The distance between each plant depends on the type of root and size of Alder. Please refer to our Alder spacing chart below which contains the correct planting distances for each root type and plant size.


Preferred Soil Types and Planting Positions

Alder Hedges thrive best in wet or moisture retentive soil, making them an ideal choice for gardens with poor drainage. They are also tolerant of a wide range of good quality garden soil types, from clay and loam to sandy soil.

However, it's important to note that they prefer slightly acidic to neutral pH levels. As for planting positions, Alder Hedges prefer full sun or partial shade. These positions allow for the most vibrant and healthy growth of foliage.

Excessive shade may lead to less dense growth, and full exposure to harsh sunlight could potentially scorch the leaves, particularly during the peak summer months. Therefore, choosing a spot with the right balance of sun and shade is crucial in ensuring the health and longevity of your Alder Hedge.

Pruning and maintenance tips for Alder Hedges

How to prune Alder hedging

Pruning an Alder Hedge is a relatively straightforward process. Start by removing any dead, diseased, or damaged branches to maintain the overall health of the hedge. Then, using sharp secateurs or a hedge trimmer, cut back the shoots to the desired length, always ensuring to make your cuts at an angle just above a bud. This promotes healthy, bushy growth.

For a thicker hedge, trim the sides at a slight angle so the base is wider than the top, allowing sunlight to reach the lower branches. Always remember to remove the cuttings from the top of the hedge to prevent rot and disease.

When to prune Alder hedges

The ideal time to prune an Alder Hedge is late winter or early spring, just before the new growth starts. This timing helps to ensure that the cuts have enough time to heal before the growing season. Additionally, any potential damage caused by winter's harsh weather can be taken care of. However, it's essential to avoid pruning during frosty weather to prevent any harm to the plant. Light trimming can also be done in mid-summer if the hedge requires shaping or size control.

Watering and fertilising

Alder Hedges generally don't require excessive watering, especially if your garden soil is naturally moist. However, during the initial years after planting and in periods of particularly dry weather, it's essential to provide adequate water. The best time of day for watering is either early in the morning or late in the evening when evaporation is minimal.

As for fertilising, Alder Hedges are not demanding. They can improve the quality of the prepared soil themselves by fixing nitrogen. However, to give your plants a boost, you might choose to apply a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in early spring, just before the onset of the growing season, and then again in mid-summer. This approach will help your Alder Hedge to maintain vitality and encourage lush, healthy growth. Always remember to follow the fertiliser package instructions for the best results.

Frequently Asked Questions About Alder Hedges

Can Alder Hedges grow in shade?

Yes, Alder Hedges can tolerate growing in partial shade. However, for the most vibrant and healthy growth of foliage, it is recommended to plant them in an area that receives a balance of both sun and shade.

How often should Alder Hedges be watered?

While Alder Hedges can generally thrive without excessive watering, it's important to provide adequate moisture during the initial years after planting and in periods of particularly dry weather. Early morning or late evening is the best time to water these plants.

Do Alder Hedges require regular fertilising?

Alder Hedges are not particularly demanding when it comes to fertilisation. They have the ability to improve soil quality by fixing nitrogen. However, if you wish to give your plants a boost, you might choose to apply a balanced, slow-release fertiliser in early spring and mid-summer.

How fast do Alder Hedges grow?

Alder Hedges are known for their rapid growth rate. This feature allows for the quick formation of hedges or screens, making them a popular choice for gardeners who are looking to establish a natural barrier or privacy screen in a relatively short time.

Can Alder Hedges withstand harsh weather conditions?

Yes, Alder Hedges are resilient species capable of withstanding a variety of weather conditions, making them suitable for different climates and environments. However, like any plant, they should be given the appropriate care and protection during extreme weather conditions to ensure their health and longevity.


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