Identification, Ecology, Use and Culture of Sitka Alder. Technical Notes. Carris, D. C. US Dept. of Agriculture, National Conservation Service.
Identification, Ecology, Use and Culture of Sitka Alder. Technical Notes [pdf]Paper  abstract   bibtex   
Sitka alder [ Alnus viridis (Vill.) Lam. & DC. subsp. sinuata (Regel) A.& D. Löve] is a native deciduous shrub or small tree that grows to height of 20 ft, occasionally taller. Although a non-crop species, it has several characteristics useful for reclamation, forestry, and erosion control. The species is known for abundant leaf litter production, the fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in association with Frankia bacteria, and a strong fibrous root system. Where locally abundant, it naturally colonizes landslide chutes, areas of stream scour and deposition, so il slumps, and other dr astic disturbances resulting in exposed minerals soils. These char acteristics make Sitka alder particularly useful for streambank stabilizat ion and soil building on impoverished sites. In addition, its low height and early slowdown in growth rate makes it potentially more desirable than red alder ( Alnus rubra ) to interplant with conife rs such as Douglas fir ( Pseudotsuga menzieii ) and lodgepole pine ( Pinus contorta ) where soil fertility is moderate to low. However, high densities can hinder forest reg eneration efforts. T he species may also be useful as a fast growing shrub row in fi eld windbreaks. Sitka alder is most abundant at mid to subalpine elevations. Low el evation seed sources (below 100 m) are uncommon but probably provide the best materi al for reclamation and erosion control projects on valley floors and terraces.

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