Alder Tree Lifespan – How Long Do Alder Lives?

This swampy water-loving tree lives between 50-80 years, averaging around 60 years. Only a few varieties of them cross 100 and live beyond.

Alder Tree Lifespan

Ruslan Slobodianiuk/ligora/Quang Ho/istockphoto


Alder trees grow relatively quickly, with a rapid growth rate during the first few decades of their life. They grow in a variety of habitats and soil types, especially alongside swamps, marshes, streams, rivers, or even in wetland forests.


The awe-inspiring and mystical Alder trees are relatively short-lived compared to some other tree species. Alders typically have a lifespan of 60 years, although some individual trees can even live longer.


The red alder variety hardly crosses the 100-year mark, but the white alder can go from an average of 75 years to 150 years.


Factors that can influence the Alder tree’s lifespan include the tree’s genetics, the growing conditions the tree is put in, and the presence of pests or diseases.


Their capacity to withstand harsh growing conditions, such as wet or poorly drained soil, can contribute to their longevity. However, they need to be protected from pests and diseases.


Alder Tree Identification and Overview


Scientific name Alnus Glutinosa
Family Birch
Common names Alder, Common Alder, Black Alder, European Alder
Preferred soil Wet or moist soil, acidic or alkaline
Climatic conditions Full sun, partial shade
Height and spread The tree grows to 40 to 50 feet in height with a 20 to 40-foot spread
Leaves Old leaves are rounded with a notched tip. Young leaves are shiny and sticky to the touch.
Flowers & Fruits The male flower is a long catkin that turns yellow as it sheds its pollen.

The female flower is a very small catkin, purple that eventually turns into the cone that contains the seeds.

Fruits appear in the form of small cones. Their color changes from green to brown as they dry and open to disperse the seed.

Bark and trunk Alder tree bark is greyish in color with a rough texture. Further, as the tree trunk grows in size more cracks can be seen on it.


How Long Do Alder Trees Live?

Alder Trees Live


Alder trees can have a lifespan of 60 years. Though it is not a fixed number, so it can vary between 50-80 years depending on the specific species.
Some varieties can live over 100 years or more as well. We will talk about them in the coming section.
Alder trees are known for their fast growth rate and ability to thrive in a wide variety of soils. They are even tolerant to flooding and saltwater. Their conical shape, heart-shaped leaves and imposing stature add to their ornamental value.
They are also used as a windbreak and because of this, they are pruned regularly. Sometimes, heavy pruning may not let them reach their full life expectancy.
Let’s get to the two most common varieties of alder and how long they live.

A. How long do White Alder trees live?

White Alder Trees Live


White Alder trees typically live for about 75-150 years. The lifespan of a White Alder tree can be affected by a variety of factors, including disease, environmental conditions, and the tree’s genes.


They grow at a fast pace and reach about 30 feet in height, before slowly creeping to full maturity of 50 feet. Some of these have been known to reach 100 feet.


The tree gets its name from the color of its bark – white to grey. White Alders are good if you have a soggy spot in your yard.


B. How long do Red Alder trees live?

Red Alder Trees


Red Alder trees typically live for 60 to 80 years. It rarely lives past 100 years. Red Alder grows rapidly and can reach 40-80 feet.


They are also known for their fast growth rate. These trees are native to the Pacific Northwest region of North America and are common in that area.


Red Alder is most often found in moist woods and along stream banks. These trees can form attractive groves in young forests, especially along rivers and streams.

What Affects an Alder Tree’s Lifespan – Why Is My Alder Tree Dying?

One of the major factors that can affect its lifespan is the soil. Alder trees prefer moist, well-drained soils, and they can suffer if they are planted in soils that are too dry or poorly drained.
Additionally, these trees should be planted in an area that is not frequently disturbed.
Another factor that affects its lifespan is diseases and pests. These trees are susceptible to several different pests and diseases, such as leaf spots, cankers, and root rot. These problems can weaken the tree and shorten its lifespan if left untreated.
Due to the high concentrations of nitrogen in the roots of these trees, it’s less susceptible to diseases. However, a couple of diseases still pose a threat to the tree’s growth or lifespan.
1. Artist’s Bracket – It is a fungal infection that attacks the trunk, roots and branches. Remove the infected parts and apply a fungal herbicide.
2. Phytophthora Disease – This disease affects the bark and leaves of the tree. The leaves are unable to reach their full length and white spots develop on the bark as it peels off and falls away. This disease is fatal for the tree.
Then other factors affect Alder tree’s lifespan like climate and environmental conditions. Alder tree that grows in harsh conditions like colder temperatures and drier soil will have a shorter lifespan as compared to those grown in favorable growing conditions.
Overall, a combination of genetic factors and environmental conditions affect Alder tree lifespan. Proper care and maintenance, such as regular watering and fertilization, can help to ensure that an alder tree reaches its full potential lifespan.

  • Top of Form
  • Bottom of Form

Related: Palm Tree Lifespan | Pine Tree Lifespan | Oak Tree Lifespan | Eucalyptus Tree Lifespan


Alder Tree Facts and Myths

Q. Are alder trees strong or do they fall easily?

Ans. Alder trees are considered to be relatively strong and not prone to falling easily. They are known for their stability, even in adverse conditions such as high winds and heavy snow.


In addition, their root systems are typically deep and well-anchored, which stabilizes the tree and keeps it upright.


Q. Where do Alder trees grow?

Ans. Alder trees are native to Northern Hemisphere, including North America, Europe, and Asia. They typically grow in damp soils such as along rivers, swamps, streams, marshes and other bodies of water.


They can grow in many different types of soil but prefer well-drained soils. Alder trees are tolerant of a wide range of environmental conditions. They are commonly found in temperate climate zones, but can also be found in subarctic and cool-temperate regions.


Q. When do Alder trees bloom?

Ans. Alder trees typically bloom in the spring, usually between March and May. The exact timing can vary depending on the species of Alder and its specific location.


Q. What is Alder tree’s growth rate?

Ans. The growth rate of Alder trees can vary depending on the species, but many species have a relatively fast growth rate. Some Alder species can grow up to 3 to 4 feet per year, reaching a mature height of 40 to 50 feet in 8-10 years.
It also depends on the environmental conditions; if the tree is growing in appropriate conditions, with adequate water and nutrients, it would grow faster.

Q. Are Alder trees invasive?

Ans. Some species of Alder trees can be invasive in certain areas. Invasive species are those that tend to spread rapidly and outcompete native plants, causing ecological damage.
The European Red Alder is considered invasive in parts of North America, where it has been known to outcompete native plant species and disrupt natural ecosystems.
The Black Alder native to Europe is also considered invasive in some regions in North America.
However, not all Alder species are considered invasive irrespective of how long do alder trees live. It can also be a beneficial tree in many areas and provide benefits to wildlife and soil.


Parting Word…

If you are looking out for a shade tree for your yard, Alder trees with a decent lifespan should be on your radar. These trees are easy to grow and also care for. The only thing to remember is to have patience.


Alders come in a variety of sizes – some are shrubs, while others are towering trees. Regardless of the species and size, Alder trees love to grow well in wet and soggy soil.


Since these are considered invasive trees, it is important to check with the local authorities and experts to determine whether a specific species of Alder is considered invasive in a particular area, before planting one.