It thrives in wet locations, It is a medium size, short-lived tree growing to a height of up to 30 metres, The common alder is important to wildlife all year round and the seeds are a useful winter food for birds. Deer, sheep, hares and rabbits feed on the tree and it provides shelter for livestock in winter. The Fruit makes a green to dark brown dye while the bark a red-brown or black if Iron is used.
If using in as hedge: All species in a wildlife hedge can be cut back or “Coppiced” without harm. In the 1st year after establishment the hedge can be cut back to stimulate growth of the hedge from the base thereafter cut every 2-3 years. If the weather is unsuitable for planting or receiving the hedging, dig a hole and bury the roots of the bunched plants, they can be held like that till planting. After planting it is advantageous to mulch the hedge with lawn mowing or leaf mould to suppress weeds and also be done with plastic or carpet cuts and covered with soil.