Sandalwood growing tips

sandal wood plant

Sandalwood is the high income crop can be grown in farmer’s field. Now the technology for growing this as a plantation is available.

Sandalwood is economically important, precious, sacred  tree. It is popularly known as Shrigandha which belongs to the family Santalaceae with a scientific name Santalum album L. It contains 4 -6% of oil . In India it is widely used in temples and pooja function.  Heartwood and oil  extracted from tree is in great demand through out the world.  It has very good medicinal property , widely used in Indian traditional and Ayurvedic medicines. It is good for skin related problems. Even research shows that  helps in curing the skin cancer by killing cancerous cells.

sandalwood heartwood
ಶೀಗಂಧದ ತಿರುಳು

Soil types for cultivation:

  • Best suitable  soil  for Sandalwood cultivation is red laterite, sandy loam,  quartz and sand mixed black soils.
  • Preferable pH of the soil should be in the range of 5.5  – 8.5.
  • Land used for cultivation must have good drainage.
  • Suitable climate for sandalwood cultivation is between 150 C -420 C with an average of 1050 mm rainfall.

Criteria for seed collection:

sandalwood at Lalbhag  Campus Bangalore
sandalwood at Lalbhagh Campus Bangalore

  • Seeds should be selected from Plus Trees (Selected for seed purpose) which has ideal genetic characters.
  • There was only one genera available in our country, but there was  different characters among.
  • Treatment of seeds with  0.05% Gibberellic acid for 12 hours for uniform germination must be done.
  • The seedlings with minimum of 1 -1.5 feet height  should be selected for planting.
  • Usually their stem is  brownish in colour.

Selection of host plants:

Host plant  between two plants
Host plant between two plants
  • Most of the people don’t know about hemiroot parasitic nature of  sandalwood .
  • So its cultivation method is different from other common wood trees.
  • Usully  Redgram, Sesbania and Drumstick  are preferred as host plants at the time of planting. 
  • Few selected tree species like Rosewood, Amla,  Casuarinas, Pongamia, Melia dubia, Cassia, Red sanders etc, are used as  permanent host plants.
  •  Now scientists observed that  Casuarina plant  is best host plant.

Land preparation

  • Make a pits  with  size of 2X2x2 feet . Keep this pit open for one week.
  •  After one week, add  10 to 15 kg Farm yard manure mixed with 10 gram of  Thimet and 10- 15 gram of  Bavistin to each pit.
  • Then planting the selected seedlings.


  • 15 to 20 kg of Farm Yard manure is recommended for second application after six months  per seedlings.
  • Along with this half kg of  deoiled neem powder  can be applied .
  • After planting NPK  can be given directly or in dissolved form along with irrigation.
  • After 6 months- 50 grams, after 12 months -100grams , 18 months – 150 grams. like this increase the quantity of NPK at 50 grams to the previous dose.  
  • Fertigation can be continued up to 5th year.


  • Dry weather condition is ideal for good growth of sandalwood.
  • According to study, heavy rainfall area, especially low lying area are not much suitable.
  • Plant can be nourished up to 5 year in fertilizer and irrigation.
  • After that irrigation and fertilizers should  be stopped and given stress to formatting heart wood. 
  • Initially  plant with installing drip irrigation.
  • Per day  8 litres of water is enough.
  • Mulching helps to conserve moisture.
  • Depending upon soil condition, irrigation should be made.

Pest and disease management:

sandalwood plant at heavy reinfall areas are poor in growth
sandalwood plant at heavy rainfall areas are poor in growth
  • Damping off and seedling wilt seriously damage the seedlings in nurseries  during the rainy season.
  • Sometime it may lead to the destruction of entire stock due to rapid spreading of the pathogens.
  • Several fungal species and nematodes are responsible for severe  loss.
  • As a treatment two gram  of  Copper oxy chloride per liter  or one  gram of  Carbendazim per litre of water can be applied  every month.
  • Wood borers like termites, sap sucking insects major causes of heavy economic losses.
Leaf fall is common in low laying area
Leaf fall is common in low laying area

Maturity and Harvest :

  • Sandalwood of 15 to 20 years of age usually contain sufficient viable heartwood.
  • Well  maintained 15 year old tree  costs around 15 lakhs.
  • Before harvesting , amount of oil content and heartwood proportion should be assessed.
healthy plant leaves
healthy plant and its healthy leaves

Sandle wood can’t be sold to un athorised buyers. Government approved buyers or authorized buyers only permitted to buy and we have to sell to them only. There are some procedures to fell the trees.  

Remember that every farmer   who is growing sandalwood compulsorily make an entry in their RTC .

In sandalwood cultivation, farmer can earn huge income. But there was some fear of theft etc. So scientists suggest to grow first 5 years in good nourishment after 5th year completely stress up to 10th year. The Hartwood will develop in this period. Farmers can cut the tree in 10th year.


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