Also known as Oregon alder, western alder, Pacific coast alder.
Red Alder is the most common hardwood in the Pacific Northwest. It is also the largest species of alder. Seasoned alder burns warm, but fast. Wet alder puts out a lot of ash and very little heat. Alder cuts and splits easily with an axe, but will leave an orange stain on hands and clothes.
Growth rate for Red Alder can exceed 6 ft/year for the first five years, attaining heights of 60 to 80 ft in 20 years. While growth slows after the first 5 years, our plan is to harvest our tree lot rotating cuttings every 6th year. This should prove idea for our purposes.
This type of tree is also good to help slow erosion on waters edge and in washes once established.
Red Alder is not very durable and rots quickly, once cut. Any wood should be dried quickly and used quickly to avoid decay. Also, storing your red alder firewood off the grownd should help slow decay on the bottom logs.
This wood is not suitable for any real homestead purpose other than burning as firewood, making charcoal, or smoking meat – which I understand imparts a sweet smell and flavor.
Medicinally, Red Alder bark is used to treat skin irritations, bug bites, poison oak, and an infusion is used to treat tuberculosis.