Alder - useful plant or tree invader
Alder does not please the eye with its bright beauty, it is not planted in parks and gardens, it is not mentioned in poems and songs. This is a constant headache of meliorators, electricians, road services. With an incredible speed, it overrides the curbs, drainage ditches, power transmission lines. But is it so simple and useless?
THERE IS WHERE THE FOREST IS NOT GROWING
The most common alder species in our country is gray alder. She has a thin trunk, covered with smooth gray bark. Oval, slightly jagged leaves along the edges of a dull green color by the fall do not color with bright colors, but grow dull and brown.
It is often possible to find the definition of alder as a weed. But is it? Does alder take away more valuable rocks? By no means. Alder usually settles in places where no decent tree can grow: on lean clay and peaty soils, acidic, submerged by groundwater. Often alder grows in ditches, lowlands, flooded river floodplains.
In other years, the base of the trunks are constantly under water - and nothing, the trees do not vypryvat and do not get sick, but continue to grow! In more favorable places, alder is quickly replaced by birch, aspen, and spruce. On dry sandy soils, it practically does not grow at all, leaving the territory to pine trees.
So, if alder has settled on your site, this is a signal about the immediate start of work on groundwater abstraction and improvement of soil composition.
OLD - GENIUS FITNESS
What allows the alder to successfully live in such adverse conditions? The main secret is in the features of its root system, which can easily tolerate waterlogging. Like legumes, it enters into symbiosis with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, providing it with additional nutrition. Roots fasten and drain muddy soil, making it gradually more suitable for the growth of other plants. Alder perfectly strengthens the banks of rivers, the edges of swamps, the slopes of ravines. Unlike willow, she willingly puts up with a lack of light.
In the early years, the young alder grows a huge volume of green leaf mass, which, after falling off, quickly rot and, along with root bacteria, enriches the earth with nutrients. The foresters know that after the information of the mature alder forest, more "noble" trees can grow in its place.
Gray alder is one of the fastest growing northern trees. At the age of 10 years, its trunk reaches 15-20 cm in thickness and 5-7 m in length. However, a gray alder usually does not grow into a large drill tree. Even if the trunk is very elongated, it is usually uneven and thin. Wood is not particularly valuable as a constructive and ornamental material and is mainly used for firewood.
It is not difficult to prepare them: the wood is easily sawed and punched, there are no large boughs. Usually, local authorities allow the population, as a sanitary measure, to saw alder on the edges of roads and fields. The alder is restored quickly, often whole villages are heated for decades by the surrounding thickets, without encroaching on a more valuable forest. Young trunks willingly use as poles, supports, stakes.
With its cheapness, alder wood is an excellent fuel. In terms of calorific value, they are only slightly inferior to birch, but, unlike them, do not emit soot and tar during combustion, which clog the chimneys. Recently, many northern countries have been paying attention to alder as a rapidly renewable source of fossil fuels. Modern technologies for the manufacture of fuel cells make it possible to use not only the trunk, but also the entire biomass: branches, branches, leaves.
ALDHA IS NOT ONLY FOR FIRE - ABOUT USE
Alder foliage contains a lot of nitrogen and minerals and is practically not affected by fungal diseases. Therefore, alder litter is an excellent raw material for compost, the device of warm beds. You can use it as a mulch.
In winter, on the bare branches of alder, small black cones with seeds are clearly visible. They are used in ancient times in medicine as a remedy for diarrhea, caused both by bowel dysfunction and bacterial infections. Leaves and bark also have a bactericidal effect, although weaker than, for example, the willow bark.
The alder juice in the air acquires a brick-brown color, so the young bark in the old days was used as a natural dye for leather and fabric. By the way, if you work with fresh wood with your bare hands, then your palms can also turn brown.
See also: 10 plants for the shadow
Alder - good: video
© Author: Evgenia Korableva, Moscow
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