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New Trees On Liberty Square, Thurles, Offer A Certain Continental Charm.

With the relocation of seven (7) new ‘Italian Alder’ (Alnus Cordata), trees, newly sown on Liberty Square, Thurles; these deciduous trees, native to high elevation areas in Southern Italy, are sure to bring a certain continental charm to our town centre.

Four of seven ‘Italian Alder’ trees sown this week on Liberty Square, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Pic. G. Willoughby.

Growing to a height of up to 25m (82ft) and with a spread of some 8m (26ft); same trees are native to southern Italy.
Italian Alder is a tall, fast-growing, deciduous tree of conical habit, with the flowers appearing before the leaves.
The slender cylindrical male catkins are pendulous, reddish and up to 10 cm (4 inches) long. Pollination is in early spring, before the leaves emerge. The female catkins are ovoid, when mature in autumn, dark green to brown in colour, similar to some conifer cones. The small winged seeds disperse through the winter, leaving the old woody, blackish cones on the tree for up to a year afterwards.

The glossy, mid-green leaves themselves are heart-shaped with very finely serrated edges and stay on the tree as late as December, especially in milder areas. Italian alder is highly wind-resistant and tolerant of very poor soils, as it is able to obtain nitrogen from the air. It will also tolerate high levels of pollution and heavily compacted soils, making it a useful urban tree.

With the occasional uncouth barbarian often visiting our town, usually at night, hopefully these trees will be protected soon by metal tree guards, at least until roots properly take hold.

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