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the value of alder (Alnus glutinosa)

 
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Location: Gulf Islands BC (zone 8)
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Curious to know whether anyone followed through on tapping red alder for sap, and how that went?

We have lots of red alder at our new place and according to one of my herb books the sap is rich in vitamins and is consumed as a tonic. So I am starting to think seriously about tapping.
 
Andrea Locke
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Have been considering transplanting some red alders as nurse trees in our chestnut polycultures but the conditions seem awfully dry in summer for alder up on the hill where the chestnuts will be going. So I started thinking another option to make use of the nitrogen fixing ability of the big alders growing like crazy in their preferred habitat on our lower wetter ground is to rake leaves in the fall and use them to line the swales we will be building this winter. And I want to share a link to a paper I found that is relevant to that idea.

https://helda.helsinki.fi/bitstream/handle/10138/18754/67-1959_Mikola.pdf?sequence=1

It's an experiment from the 1950s showing far more growth in pine seedlings mulched with alder than several other species' leaves. Table 3 shows a major difference. Pretty cool eh?

By the way, I never did get any responses to my inquiry as to whether anyone had been tapping alder sap? Any results to report?


 
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Location: Eastern Ontario, Canada Zone 5b
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Andrea Locke wrote:Curious to know whether anyone followed through on tapping red alder for sap, and how that went?

We have lots of red alder at our new place and according to one of my herb books the sap is rich in vitamins and is consumed as a tonic. So I am starting to think seriously about tapping.



I'm not sure about alder, but birches (which are relatives) have between 0.5%-2% sugars in their sap, while maples run 1-5%, and sugar maples in optimal conditions can possibly even hit 6%. My silver maples here calculate out to about 3-3.5% sugar content, but they are in good soil, planted in a single row along a field edge, so they get full sunlight.

With respect to syrup production, the amount of syrup yielded by a given amount of sap will be less. It will taste different, but I've heard it's good. It's not something I've ever tried myself.
 
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