TREE SURGEON TREE GUIDE
Your Guide to UK Trees
This is a new guide and will grow over the coming months. We hope the information will help you look after your trees.
BRITISH TREES - ALDER
Swamp-dweller, water-lover. The wood of this tough tree doesn’t rot when waterlogged, instead turning stronger and harder.
- Status:native deciduous tree
- Height:large (up to 35m)
- Girth:potentially to 5–6 metres
- Longevitypotential for long life (250+ years)
Common alder grows in riverbanks, in fens, and in damp forests. Its exposed roots offer fish with cover, while its rounder leaves supply food for water insects.
Mature conical trees may reach a height of roughly 28m and survive for approximately 60 years.
The bark is black, fissured, and usually lichen-covered. Twigs have a light brown stem that is speckled and becomes crimson at the top. Young twigs are rough to touch.
The Common Alder (Alnus glutinosa) is native to the UK, Europe, Western Asia, and North Africa. It grows naturally in moist settings like river banks and lake edges, but it is now being planted in many urban areas. It is commonly used in reclamation efforts since it, like other Alders, can provide nitrogen to the soil. The tree is comparable to two other Alders found in cities: the Grey Alder and the Italian Alder. Alder is identified by its notched leaf, male cone-like catkins, and female cone-like catkins that are in between the other two in size.
ENVIRONMENTAL RELATIONS | ALDER TREE
Alder, the most prevalent tree species in riparian forests, is significant in these woods around streams and lochs. Because it is a deep-rooted plant, it contributes to maintaining the soil on river banks and lessens the impacts of erosion. Fish can find cover and safety from predators in exposed alder root networks in the water. Salmon and brown trout, among other fish, profit from the shade that alder foliage offers. In water, its leaves degrade quickly. Invertebrate larvae including caddisfly, stone, and water beetle larvae may eat them. These in turn support the aquatic food chain. These invertebrates are tasty to larger creatures like fish. Alder roots can be used by otters to locate secure locations for breeding and resting.
Alder and the bacteria Frankia alni have a significant symbiotic interaction. On the tree’s roots, frankia lives and grows in nodules. This bacteria fixes nitrogen by absorbing it from the air and giving it to the tree. Alder then gives the bacteria the carbon it produces through photosynthesis in exchange. This connection enables alder to increase the soil fertility in the areas where it grows. As a pioneer species, it provides nutrients to the successional species that come after.
Various moss and lichen species may be seen growing on the bark and branches of mature alder trees. On alder, tree lungwort and other lichens that love wetness are fairly prevalent. This is owing to the fact that it thrives close to rivers and streams, where spray regularly causes the air to be humid.
47 different mycorrhizal fungus species may grow on alder. Numerous plants and fungus develop mycorrhizal connections. The flow of nutrients, which neither partner can directly access, is beneficial to both parties. Some fungus exclusively associate with alder in this way. The brown roll-rim is one illustration of this. After the alder catkins have fallen to the ground in the spring, the brown cup fungus begins to bear fruit.
A unusual mould called Taphrina amentorum thrives in the blossoms and seeds of immature alder catkins. As the cones grow, galls develop and become harder.
Alder leaves develop galls because of a mite called Eriophyes. On the top surface of the leaves, these galls appear as elevated pustules. The mite feeds on sap that it suckers from the tree’s cell tissue and can range in hue from mild yellow-green to deep crimson.
Over 140 insects that feed on plants have called alder home. One of these is the sawfly of the striped alder. The May highflyer is one of the few moths in Scotland that solely consumes alder. Its larva resides in a hut constructed from two leaves that have been stitched together with silk. In England, a wider variety of moths are linked to alder. One of these is the alder kitten moth, which is absent from Scotland.
Like other tree species in Scotland, alder is consumed by red deer. This hinders the tree’s normal regrowth in many Highlands locations. Domestic sheep have the same impact nationwide. The most significant danger to alder’s existence is the algae-like Phytophthora. This can result in a disease that, if untreated, might lead to the widespread extinction of alder trees.
Because it is the most prevalent tree in river woods, which frequently serve as biological bridges between various forest sections, alder is a significant species in the Caledonian Forest. The health of the land and the rivers depends on its survival and growth.
WHERE CAN I FIND ALDER?
Alder is indigenous to virtually all of continental Europe (excluding the extreme north and south), as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland. It thrives in damp, chilly environments like as marshes, wet woods, and streams, where its roots aid in soil erosion control.
It may also be found in drier settings, such as mixed woodland and forest margins. It grows swiftly from seed and colonises barren ground quickly. Because of its connection with the nitrogen-fixing bacteria Frankia alni, it can thrive in nutrient-depleted soils where few other trees can.
Alnus is a genus with 30 species worldwide. They inhabit the North Temperate Zone, as well as North, Central, and South America. The sole species in the genus that is endemic to the United Kingdom is A. glutinosa.
Alder is eaten by the larvae of various moths, including the alder kitten, stone hook-tip, autumnal, and blue-bordered carpet moths. Catkins give early nectar and pollen to bees, while the seeds are consumed by the siskin, redpoll, and goldfinch.
Alder woodland’s damp conditions are suitable for a variety of mosses, lichens, and fungi, as well as the little pearl-bordered fritillary and chequered skipper butterflies and various crane fly species. Otters enjoy building their nests among the roots of alder trees.
MYTHOLOGY AND SYMBOLISM
Because they were moist and marshy, alder forests, or carrs, were supposed to have a mystical vibe.
The green dye from the blooms was used to tint and disguise the clothing of outlaws like Robin Hood, and it was also considered to colour the clothing of fairies.
When sliced, the light wood becomes a rich orange, creating the image of bleeding. As a result, many people hated alder trees, and crossing one on a journey was considered unfortunate by the Irish.
Alder wood, which is soft and porous, is only durable while wet, and its usefulness to humans is largely on its resistance to rotting in water. It has historically been used to make boats, sluice gates, and water pipelines. Alder wood is increasingly utilised in the production of timber veneers, pulp, and plywood.
For egg laying, female woodworms are considered to prefer alder to other woods. Traditionally, alder branches were trimmed and placed in cupboards to prevent woodworm from depositing eggs in the cabinet timber.
Alder coppice wood burns efficiently and creates excellent charcoal and gunpowder. Nitrogen-fixing nodules in the roots of old industrial wastelands and brownfield areas condition the soil and promote soil fertility. Alders are also utilised to help prevent floods.
It was originally believed that placing a few alder leaves in your shoes before a long travel would keep your feet cool and avoid swelling.
Much of Venice is built on alder piles due of their water resilience.
THREATS AND CONSERVATION
Phytophthora has infected certain alders in the United Kingdom. Broadleaf tree species are prone to Phytophthora infections. However, it was assumed to be uncommon on alder until the discovery of a novel hybrid strain that produces root rot and stem lesions.
The disease, also known as alder dieback, is more evident in the summer because the infected alders’ leaves are disproportionately tiny and yellow, and they frequently fall prematurely. Infected tree tops feature dead twigs and branches. They may also have a disproportionately large number of cones, indicating stress. Sometimes trees perish rapidly, and sometimes they decay gradually. Brown, rusty patches on the bark and bleeding from the bark are symptoms. When revealed, the reddish, mottled inner bark contrasts with the whitish tone of healthy bark.
BRITISH TREES - ALDER BUCKTHORN
A reputation for causing a bang. Alder buckthorn is used to make gunpowder, pigments and dyes. It’s a beloved plant of the brimstone butterfly.
ALDER BUCKTHORN STATISTICS
- Status:deciduous, locally native shrub or small tree
- Height:small (4–6 metres)
- Girth:potentially to 1+ metres
- Longevitypotentially to 150+ years
- DistributionWidespread, but scarce, in England and Wales.
ALDER BUCKTHORN FACTS
Alder buckthorn has been used medicinally as a gentle laxative since at least the middle Ages
NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH:
Dogwood (Cornus sanguinea)
which is not spiny.
purging buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
this has opposite as opposed to alternate leaves.
Mature trees can grow to be 6 metres tall. The exterior bark is dark brown when exposed, yet the inside bark is bright yellow. Unlike the buckthorn, the branches and stems are smooth and thornless. The twigs are smooth and straight, purple-brown in tone with thin white streaks. It has a connection to purging buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica).
WHAT IS THE LOCATION OF ALDER BUCKTHORN
Alder buckthorn is native to most of Europe and can even be found in China. It grows best in moist soils and open forests, and flourishes in scrub, hedgerows, wet heathland, river banks, and bogs. Although it likes acidic soils, it will thrive in neutral soils as well. It is common yet uncommon.
A brimstone butterflyThe brimstone butterfly’s primary food plant is alder buckthorn leaves. Bees value the flowers, and the fruit is an important food source for birds, particularly thrushes.
MYTHOLOGY AND SYMBOLISM
Alder buckthorn and other closely related species were believed to have the capacity to guard against witchcraft, demons, poisons, and headaches.
ALDER BUCKTHORN APPLICATIONS
The dried bark (and fruit) was historically employed as a laxative due to its 3-7% anthraquinone content, which stimulates the colon.
The bark and leaves contain a yellow tint. When mixed with iron salts, it turns black. Unripe fruit produces green colour, but ripe berries produce blue or grey pigment.
The best wood for making gunpowder is alder buckthorn charcoal. It is highly prized for time fuses because to its exceedingly uniform burn rate.
Plants of horticultural value can be cultivated as an informal hedge.
Because of its hardness, endurance, and sharpening capacity, the wood has been used to produce nails, shoes, shoe lasts, arrows, and skewers.
One of the elements of a herbal alternative cancer treatment is alder buckthorn bark. The treatment, known as Hoxsey Therapy, gained popularity in the 1930s and is still used in some parts of the world today.
BRITISH TREES - APPLE TREE
Tart, acidic, and refreshing. The apple tree’s fruit is a popular snack in the United Kingdom. Although they are not native, we have been breeding them for ages as diners, cooks, and cider makers.
- Common Name(s): apple
- Scientific name: Malus x domestica
- Family: Rosaceae
- Origin: non-native
- Height:Up to 5 metres (17ft)
Malic acid is abundant in apple juice, apple flesh, and apple cider vinegar. This advantageous compound is excellent in the treatment of illnesses such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, and gallstones.
NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH:
Crab apple (Malus sylvestris)
Domestic apple has significantly larger fruits than crab apple, yet it can hybridise with crab apple, resulting in forms that combine the two.
WHAT DOES APPLE LOOK LIKE?
Serrated edges on a dark green oval. The undersides of the leaves are slightly hairy or woolly.
White with five flowers and pink hints. In May and June, they bloom in clusters, known as flowers, and put on a stunning show.
Depending on the species, the large green to red fruits can be sweet or sour. As the fruit grows, carpels with dark brown seeds form.
WHERE WILL YOU FIND APPLE
Apple commonly escapes and has become naturalised in hedgerows and thickets throughout the United Kingdom. These are little trees that grow in hedgerows, brush, copses, roadside ditches, and uneven land.
Malus sieversii, the wild parent of the domesticated apple, can still be found in Central Asia. Apples have been grown in Asia and Europe for thousands of years, and European colonists carried them to North America.
Apples are an essential food source for wildlife. Thrushes consume fallen fruit, but bullfinches consume buds. Blackbirds prefer bushy plants for nesting.
Over 7,000 different apple varieties have been developed worldwide. The rose family includes apples, pears, and plums.
Apples are the most varied fruit, with over 2,500 kinds ranging from the common Bramley’s Seedling to the uncommon Broad-Eyed Pippin and Peasgood’s Nonsuch. They are used for eating, cooking, and making cider.
The wood is more commonly used for fine carving and specialist wood sculptures than for daily things. Because of its great density, the wood is difficult to work with and is not frequently accessible in big sizes.
MYTHOLOGY & SYMBOLISM AND
According to Norse mythology, the apple is the fruit of endless youth as well as fertility. In Greek mythology, the apple is a forbidden fruit, and in Christian tradition, it is a symbol of temptation, knowledge, and sin.
THREATS & CONSERVATION
Pests of edible apple cultivars include aphids, mussel scale (a sap-sucking insect), and codling moth, whose caterpillars dig into mature fruits and feast on the core.