I had an Red Alder tree blow down and lay sprawling in my pasture for several weeks. The other day I got out my chainsaw to buck it up into firewood. When I cut up the chunks I saw nothing unusual about the wood, but a few days later I went out and I couldn’t help but notice how orange the wood had turned. I have seen this before with Alder, but I am always surprised at just how intensely orange it turns when the wood oxygenizes.
Alders are related to Birch trees, but are short-lived and never grow to be the size of Birch. Their leaves and catkin seeds look pretty much the same as Birch. Red Alder trees take a lot of nitrogen out of the air and fix it into the soil so they help enrich forests. Their roots make nodules to do this. Living Alder trees don’t burn very well so they make good firebreaks in the forests.
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