Santalum album



General Information :

  • S. album is a small evergreen tree, a partial root parasite, attaining a height of12 to 13
  • Flowers are purplish brown, unscented
  • Fruit is a drupe, purplish when fully matured and single seeded.
  • Seeds are naked, lack testa and are dried and stored in polybags or gunny bags.

Distribution :

  • The tree is indigenous to India.
  • It is scattered all over India of which more than 90% lies in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

Habitat : Tropical deciduous forests

Soil : Red alluvial soil.

Altitude :Up to 1200 m (MSL)

Rainfall :800 - 1,400mm

Temperature : 10 - 38°c

Terrain : Plains/Gentle slopes

Tree Characteristics :
  •  Sensitive to shade, water logging and fire.
  • Drought resistant

Habit : A small evergreen glabrous tree.

Planting Guidelines

Natural Regeneration :

  • Through root suckers and also by seeds dispersed by birds.

Seed collection and Storage :

  • Sandal fruits are collected fresh from the tree or as soon as they have fallen on the ground during April-May and September-October.
  • Depulped seeds give better germination per cent.
  • The wet seeds are dried under shade and dry seeds stored in polythene or gunny bags.
  • About 6,000 seeds/Kg
  • Fresh seeds take 4 to 6 weeks to germinate.
  • Eighty percent of seeds are viable up to 9 months.
  • Germination is about 60 – 80 % under field conditions. 

Seed Treatment :

  • Seeds  should be treated with Gibrelic (GA3) acid with various concentration

Nursery Technique :

  • Sandal seedlings raised standard mother bed size 10m x 1m
  • Seed beds are formed with only sand and red earth in the ratio 3:1 Around 2.5 kg seed is spread uniformly over the bed, covered with straw which should be removed immediately after germination.
  • When seedlings reached 4 to 6 leaf stage they are transplanted to polybags along with a seed of Tur dhal (Cajanus cajan) and other available leguminous plants for better growth of sandal.
  • Host plants are to be pruned frequently, so that they do not over grow sandal and hamper its growth.
  • Polybags should contain soil mixture of ratio 2:1:1 (Red earth, Sand: FYM).
  • Shifting may be done once in two months to avoid root penetrating into soil .
  • Grading should done before planting.
  • Weeding is to be done at regular intervals.
  • Plantable seedlings can be raised in 6-8 month 

Plantation technique :

  • Pits of 30 cm3 are dug out at an espacement of 3 m x 3 m.
  • First grade seedlings are preferable for planting.
  • Host plants are planted in the same pit
  • This method has proved successful in many areas.
  • Preferable leguminous plants are Casuarina equisetifolia, Pongamia pinnata, Cassia siamea, Alternanthera sessilis, and Sesbania grandiflora.

Care & Disease Control :

  • Soil working to a radius of 50 cm once in 6 months is to be done.
  • The host plant may be pruned at regular interval.
  • Adequate protection against fire and grazing is very necessary.
  • Periodical pruning on the lower half of the main stem.

Irrigation :

  • Sandalwood crop can be grown throughout the year provided there is enough irrigation facility available.
  • When it comes to water requirement, irrigation should be provided at an interval of 2 to 3 weeks when the plants are young especially in hot and summer climatic conditions.
  • Go for drip irrigation in regions where water source is limited.
  • Sandalwood plant does not require any irrigation in rainy season and make sure to drain out any excess water from the tree basin.

Recommended Harvest :

  • 25-30 years 

Yield :

  • Heart wood : 8-10 kg/tree *
*Subject to varry according to site factors

Major uses :

  • Sandal wood being close grained and amenable to carving, is one of the finest woods for the purpose.
  • It is used in making idols and inlay ivory work.
  Sandal Wood Oil:
  • Powder of heartwood upon steam distillation yields East Indian Sandalwood oil.
  • Light colored wood generally contains higher percentage of oil than dark colored.
  • The oil content varies from 3% - 6% Sandal Oil has earned a prominent place in agarbathi (incense stick), cosmetic, fragrance and soap industries.
  • It also finds its use in medicine as antiseptic, antipyretic etc.

Market details :

Heart wood : Approximately Rs.11000 – 13000/Kg.