Tree of the Day – Alder
Saturday 23rd November sees the start of National Tree Week (23rd November – 1st December) and is the UK’s largest annual tree celebration, marking the start of the winter tree planting season.
To celebrate trees we are posting the ‘Tree of the Day’ with details of the trees you are likely to see if you are out and about in Greater Manchester.
One of the less familiar native trees, the alder is often found in marshlands and by rivers, which can sometimes be pinpointed by a row of alders following the line of the riverbank. It grows best where the soil is slightly acidic, and it is assisted in doing this by bacteria on its roots, which absorb nitrogen from the air. Because the alder tolerates waterlogged conditions, its timber is highly water-resistant, and large parts of Venice are built on submerged posts of alder. It has dark grey bark and oblong leaves that remain on the tree till late in the autumn. Although it isn’t a coniferous tree, its fertilised catkins look like cones and hang on the tree throughout the winter. Traditionally, alder wood was the preferred choice for making clogs. The bark of alder trees has also been used for tanning both textiles and leather.
Trees play an incredible role in combating climate chaos by removing planet-wrecking emissions from the air around us. Despite their importance, just 13% of the UK’s total land area has tree cover (compared to an EU average of 35%).
Friends of the Earth has launched a #MoreTreesPlease campaign to double tree cover in the UK. We believe one of the best solutions to protect our environment and achieve net zero emissions (removing as many emissions as we produce) is to double UK forest by 2045, but government targets currently fall well short.
Manchester Friends of the Earth November newsletter is all about trees!
Wherever you live, trees have a wide range of benefits, which you can learn more about inside this newsletter. In our city centres, trees help absorb air pollutants and cool the air in heatwaves. In our suburbs, trees enhance the value of open spaces for exercise and recreation, improving our physical and mental health. In our countryside, trees retain moisture in the soil and thus reduce the risk of grass fires in droughts and floods after heavy rain. These are all important reasons for planting more trees here in Greater Manchester.