Know All About Sandalwood Farming

Sandalwood is one of those materials that are in existence and have been used for centuries. This tree is evergreen that reaches upto the height of 13 meters to 16 meters that comes with a girth of 100 cm to 200 cm. These trees are variable inhabitant that is usually upright to sprawling. There is a cultural use and commercial & medicinal importance of these trees in India. It is known by the name "Chandan" and "Srigandha" in India. Sandalwood is very high in demand in India because of the prohibition on growing Sandalwood in numerous states in India. However, there are some states in India that have lifted the ban on Sandalwood Farming. You can contact your forest or horticulture or agriculture departments to know about the legality of growing the Sandalwood in your own area. There is a special place of Sandalwood in Indian tradition where it is being used from cradle to cremation.
Sandalwood and its essential oils have very high commercial values because of its use in aromatherapy, soap industry, perfumery, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. There are a plethora of varieties of Sandalwood that are available throughout the world. Indian and Australian Sandalwood is majorly renowned and has massive commercial value in the market. The returns are also very high on Sandalwood Farming. The naturally grown sandalwood tree takes around 30 years for getting ready to be harvested. Meanwhile, intensive cultivation of Sandalwood in organic methods serves with rapid outcomes in around 10 to 15 years. Sandalwood is grown in India in two colors are mainly red and white.

The major benefit of these plants is that they can be grown as intercrop in Malabar neem plantations or crops. Essential oil, bark, and heartwood are the major parts that are used in the cultivation of Sandalwood. On the other hand, the leaves of Sandalwood can be used in the form of animal fodder. Sandalwood is mostly grown in states of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, Bihar, Telangana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu in India. And it is also available in red, white, and yellow colors.

Family Name of Sandalwood: Santalaceae Botanical or
Scientific Name of Sandalwood: Santalum album L

Uses & Health Benefits of Sandalwood

Given below are some of the health benefits and uses of Sandalwood and its Essential oils.
  • Sandalwood is used in the form of an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Mainly Sandalwood is used in perfumery products.
  • Sandalwood essential oil is used in aromatherapy for reducing hypertension and stress.
  • Sandalwood essential oil is used in the treatment of skin blemishes and healing wounds.
  • Sandalwood is used in deodorants. It can also be combined with some other essential oils for making diverse ranges of fragrances.
  • There is the utmost importance of Sandalwood in religious rituals.
  • Sandalwood essential oil comes with antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Sandalwood essential oil is majorly known as a memory booster.

Sandalwood's Common Names in India

Some of the common names of Sandalwood in India are Chandan, Safed Chandan, ShriGandha, Santalum Album, Sandal & Sandalwood, Arishta Phalam, Aninditha, Sarpavasa, Bhadhrashraya, Chandrakanta, Thailaparna, Malayaja, and Gandhasara.

Sandalwood's Local Names in India

Gandhapu Chekka (Telugu), Chandan (Hindi), Raktacandanam (Malayalam), Cantana (Tamil), Candana (Marathi), Srigandhada (Kannada), Canana (Punjabi), Candana (Bengali), and Candana (Gujarati) are some of the local names of Sandalwood in India.

Varieties of Sandalwood Farming

Although Indian and Australian Sandalwood Farming is mostly done, there are more than 15 varieties or cultivars of Sandalwood available throughout the world.

Climate Requirement for Sandalwood Farming

There is a requirement for a hot and humid climate for growing Sandalwood as these will thrive best in this kind of climatic condition. The ideal temperature for the growth of Sandalwood is between 12 degrees Celsius to 35 degrees celsius.

Soil Requirement for Growing Sandalwood

Any well-drained soil that is well-versed with good organic matter can be used for growing Sandalwood. However, red sandy loam soils are best for the growth and yields of these trees. You are recommended for a soil test and fulfill all the nutrient requirements of the soil based on test results if you are planning to do commercial cultivation of Sandalwood. Sandalwood grows better in slightly alkaline soils that possess a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.

Land Preparation for Sandalwood Cultivation

You are required to serve the soil with a couple of ploughings for bringing it to the fine tilth stage and to make it weed-free. You can prepare the soil or beds in such a way that excess water would get drained out rapidly in case of heavy rains or floods.

Propagation in Sandalwood Farming

Sandalwood might be propagated vegetatively with the help of tissue culture or employing seeds.

Planting & Spacing in Sandalwood Farming

Seeds are usually collected from Sandalwood plants at the age of 15 to 20 years from August to March which is best for the growth and yields from these plants. Before sowing and nursery beds these collected plants should get dried up and well-treated.

Generally, old well-branched seedlings of 7 to 8 months that are of 30 to 35 cm height are raised on nursery beds which are used for the transplantation in the main field.

There are two types of seedbeds, for instance, "sunken" and "raised beds" are used for raising the sandalwood seedlings. During the preparation of soil or land, the pit's size of 45 * 45 * 45 should be dug.

The distance between each plant should be around 10 feet. You are required to ensure that before plantation there should not be stagnated water in pits. You may leave pits for getting exposed to the sun for a couple of days for drying up pits and for destroying any pests.

After 4 years of planting the Sandalwood, it would start flowering and you are required to ensure to remove the dried or diseased branches and weeds regularly for making the field free from weeds. One should also give preference to make use of Bio-fertilizers in Sandalwood Farming.

Irrigation in Sandalwood Farming

One can grow Sandalwood crops all through the year on the condition that there is the availability of adequate facilities all through the year. When the plants are young there is a necessity of irrigation at an interval of 2 to 3 weeks particularly in hot and summer climatic conditions.

You can opt for drip irrigation in those areas where water sources are scarce. There is no need for irrigation to the Sandalwood plant in rainy seasons and you are required to ensure to drain out any excessive amount of water from the tree basin.

Fertilizers and Manures in Sandalwood Cultivation

Any agriculture crop will best respond to organic and chemical fertilizers. However, there should not be any use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in medicinal crops. One can make use of well-rotted farmyard manure (FYM), for instance, vermin compost, garden compost, cow dung, or any other manure made from green leaves. You can also prepare bio-pesticides from neem (kernel, seeds, and leaves), cow's urine, Dhatura, Chitrakmool, etc. to control many diseases and pests in Sandalwood Cultivation.

Harvest and Post-Harvesting in Sandalwood Farming

Generally, Sandalwood trees will become ready for harvesting after 30 years of plantation. The softwood is removed during the harvesting of Sandalwood and after that hardwood is chipped that would be converted into powder in a mill. After soaking the powder in water for 48 hours or 2 days and distillation, the essential oil from Sandalwood is filtration and re-distillation.

Yields From Sandalwood Farming

As Sandalwood trees require a longer period of time than any other tree for growing, one should have the patience to wait for its profit and yield. On average, this tree grows 5 cm girth each year under good climatic and soil conditions.

Primary factors that affect the growth of Sandalwood are; selecting the pieces of sandalwood, selection of land, host plant management, irrigation management, pest, and disease control management.

Age of Sandalwood Tree (in years) Girth (in cm.) Heart Wood Yield (in KG)
10 10 1
20 22 4
30 33 10
40 44 20
50 55 30

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