Sandalwood Cultivation Information Guide

Sandalwood Cultivation Guide:

Introduction of Sandalwood Cultivation:- Sandalwood is one of the materials being used from centuries and this tree is evergreen and reaches up to 13 to 16-meter height with a girth of 100 cm to 200 cm and is variable in habit, usually upright to sprawling. It has cultural importance and commercial/medicinal uses as well. In India, it is also being called “Chandan” and “Srigandha”. Due to restrictions of growing sandalwood in many states in India, the demand for sandalwood is very high. However, some states in India have lifted the ban on growing sandalwood. Contact your forest/agriculture/horticulture departments for the legality of growing the sandalwood in your region. Sandalwood has a special place in Indian tradition where it is being used from cradle to cremation. The commercial value of sandalwood and its essential oil has very high due to its use in cosmetics, pharmaceutical, aromatherapy, soap industry, and perfumery.

Though there are many varieties of sandalwood is available in the world, Indian sandalwood and Australian sandalwood are very famous and has excellent commercial value in the market. Though returns on sandalwood cultivation are very high in which naturally grown sandalwood tree takes 30 years to be ready for harvesting whereas intensive cultivation in organic methods gives quick results in 10 to 15 years. The sandalwood grown in India has two colours which are available white and red. The best part of these plants is this can be grown as intercrop in Malabar neem plantation/crop. Heartwood, bark and essential oil are the main parts being used in sandalwood cultivation. The leaves of sandalwood can also be used for animal fodder. In India, sandalwood is mostly grown in Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Bihar, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu. Sandalwood is available in red, white and yellow colors.

Sandalwood Cultivation.
Sandalwood Cultivation.

Family Name of Sandalwood:- Santalaceae.

Botanical/Scientific Name of Sandalwood:-  Santalum album L.

Uses and Health Benefits of Sandalwood:-  The following are health benefits and uses of Sandalwood and its essential oil.

Uses and Health Benefits of Sandalwood.
Uses and Health Benefits of Sandalwood.
  • Sandalwood works as an anti-inflammatory agent.
  • Sandalwood is mainly used in perfumery products.
  • Sandalwood essential oil used in aromatherapy to reduce stress, hypertension.
  • Sandalwood essential oil heals wounds and treating skin blemishes.
  • Sandalwood used in deodorants and can be blended with other essential oils to make different fragrances.
  • Sandalwood is used in religious rituals.
  • Sandalwood essential oil has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and astringent properties.
  • Sandalwood essential oil is a memory booster.

Common Names of Sandalwood in India:- Safed Chandan, Chandan, Sandal and Sandalwood, Santalum album, ShiriGandha, Aninditha, Arishta Phalam, Bhadhrashraya, Sarpavasa, Chandrakanta, Gandhasara,Thailaparna and Malayaja.

Local Names of Sandalwood in India:- Chandan (Hindi), Gandhapu Chekka (Telugu), Cantana (Tamil), Raktacandanaṁ (Malayalam), Śrigandhada (Kannada), Candana (Marathi), Candana (Gujarati), Canana (Punjabi), Candana (Bengali)

Varieties of Sandalwood:- Indian sandalwood, Australian sandalwood are mostly grown though there more than 15 varieties (cultivars) are available throughout the world.

Climate Requirement for Sandalwood Cultivation:-  Sandalwood crop requires and grows well in hot and humid climatic conditions. The ideal temperature for sandalwood tree growth is between 12° and 35°C.

Soil Requirement of Sandalwood Cultivation:- Sandalwood trees can be grown in any well-drained soils having good organic matter. However, red sandy loam soils are best for their growth and yield. If you are planning for commercial cultivation of sandalwood, it is advised to go for a soil test and fulfill the nutrient requirements in the soil based on soil test results. Sandalwood grows better in slightly alkaline soils with a pH range of 6.5 to 7.5.

Land Preparation for Sandalwood Cultivation:-  Give a couple of ploughings to bring the soil to fine tilth stage and weed free. Prepare the soil or beds in such a way that excess water will drain out quickly in case of heavy rains or floods.

Propagation in Sandalwood Cultivation:- Sandalwood can be propagated by means of seeds and vegetatively through tissue culture.

Sandalwood Tree Seeds.
Sandalwood Tree Seeds.

Planting and Spacing in Sandalwood Cultivation:- Usually seeds collected from plants age of 15 to 20 years in August to March is best for its growth and yield. These collected plants should be dried up and well-treated before sowing on nursery beds. Generally, 7 to 8 months old well-branched seedlings of 30 to 35 cm height raised on nursery beds are used for transplanting in the main field. Two types of seedbeds such as “sunken” and “raised beds” are used to raise the sandalwood seedlings.

The pits size of 45 x 45 x 45 cm should be dug during soil/land preparation. The plant-to-plant distance should be 10 feet. Make sure there will not be any stagnated water in pits before planting. Expose pits for sun for a couple of days to dry up the pits any pests will be destroyed. Sandalwood will start flowering after 4 years planting and need to make sure to remove the weeds and dried/diseased branches on regular basis to make the field weed free. Prefer to use Bio-fertilizers in sandalwood cultivation.

Sandalwood Seedlings.
Sandalwood Seedlings.

Irrigation in Sandalwood Cultivation:-  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 the water source is limited. Sandalwood plant does not require any irrigation in the rainy season and make sure to drain out any excess water from the tree basin.

Manures and Fertilizers in Sandalwood Cultivation:- Any agriculture crop responds well to organic and chemical fertilizers. However, any medicinal crop should be grown without any chemical fertilizers and use of pesticides. Well rotten farmyard manure (FYM) like cow dung, garden compost, vermin-compost or any manure made from green leaves can be used. For controlling any pests and diseases in sandalwood cultivation, bio-pesticides should be prepared from Neem (kernel, seeds & leaves), Chitrakmool, Dhatura, Cow’s urine etc.

Weed control Sandalwood Cultivation:- Weeding and thinning should be carried at regular intervals for establishing a standard framework of sandalwood plantation.

Sandalwood Flowering.
Sandalwood Flowering.

Pests and Diseases in Sandalwood Cultivation:- To prevent diseases and pests, bio-pesticides could be prepared with single or mixture from Neem kernel, Neem seeds and Neem leaves, chitrakmool, dhatura, and cow urine.

Note: It is always advised to contact your local horticulture/agriculture/forest department or NMPB (National medicinal plants board) for symptoms of diseases and pests and their control measures in sandalwood cultivation.

Harvest and Post-Harvest in Sandalwood Cultivation:- Usually sandalwood trees will be ready for harvesting after 30 years of planting. During harvesting of sandalwood, the soft wood is removed and then hard wood is chipped which would be converted into powder in a mill. After soaking the powder in water for 2 days (48 hours) and distilled. The essential oil from sandalwood is rectified by re-distillation and filtration.

Yield in Sandalwood Cultivation:- As sandalwood takes longer than any other tree to grow, one should havethe patience to wait for its yield and profit. On an averag,e it grows 5 cm girth per year under good soil and climatic conditions.

The following table gives approximate growth of sandalwood each year.

Age of Sandalwood Tree (in years).Girth (in cm).Heart wood yield (in kg).
10101
20224
303310
404420
505530

Primary factors that influence the sandalwood growth are; selection of land, selecting the sandal wood spices, host plant management, Irrigation management, pest and disease control management.

Economics of Sandalwood Cultivation:- Well, the rate or price of sandalwood or any medicinal plants varies every year and depends on market conditions. The retail government rate of heart wood in India is about 500 to 600 Rupees/ kg (This may vary, please contact the local forest department for the current price of heartwood.)

Subsidy and Loan for Sandalwood Cultivation in India:- In India, there is a subsidy and loan facility available for the farmers who wants to grow sandalwood. There are many banks including NABARD are financing for commercial cultivation of sandalwood projects. NMPB (National medicinal plants board) is also providing subsidies on sandalwood projects. Please contact them directly for more and current subsidy/loan information.

Cost and Profit in Sandalwood Cultivation:- Well, profits in any agriculture/crop depends on many factors. However, Sandalwood farming is a long-term and highly profitable crop. Here is a sample project cost and profit scenario in India. One should understand that these things will change region to region and year to year based on market conditions.

For one acre of land, usually, the plant density is about 400 to 440 (where 10 feet distance is maintained between plants).

Usually, cost per acre depends on many factors like plant cost, labour cost for planting, drip cost, soil working and weed control (at the current market), pests/disease cost and others.

On average 1 acre of sandalwood plantation cost 6,00,000 INR (six lakh Indian rupees).

Sandalwood heart wood is costing about 6,000 Rs/kg.

Total yield of 5,000 kg can be expected.

So, total expected price after 15 to 20 years is: 5,000 x 6,000 = 3, 00, 00,000 (3 crore).

Total cost/expenditure + other costs = 6,00,000 INR plus land cost per acre 20,00,000 INR = 26,00,000

Net profit can be expected:  3,00,00,000 – 26,00,000 = 2,74,00,000/acre.

Marketing of Sandalwood:- Any medicinal plants require premarketing strategy. Before going for sandalwood cultivation on large scale, contact agents/companies/ or any herbal suppliers for marketing.

Read Sandalwood Farming Project Report.

For Asia Farming: Read here.

For Sheep and Goat Farming: Read here.

Read about Growing Onions In Containers.

64 COMMENTS

  1. Sir/Madam.
    Kindly let me know if it is a must to irrigate sandal wood plants besides the monsoon rain which generally starts from the month of May to Oct in my region. Can it be inter crop with other fruit bearing trees?

    • Hi, Sandalwood tress can be grown as Inter-crop in Malabar Neem orchard. Yes, they need irrigation all the time (except in monsoon time/rainy season). Drip irrigation would be best choice. When you as inter-crop make sure, these trres wont get shade from other trees. This can be achieved by maintaining proper distance.

  2. Hi sir if we want to arrange a study tour about red sandalewood for foreign guest than how we can do it.

  3. I was told by a real estate marketing firm that 200 sq.yd land can yield 5ton of sandal wood in a span of 10 years. Can you guide.

  4. Dear Sir

    Myself Mandar From Pune , I need this information in hindi or marathi as my dad understand well.

    Regards
    Mandar

  5. This is the best website for all the agriculture projects which I have ever seen before. I have briefly gone through them and they are informative. I am very much interested in commercial planting of Sandalwood in large scale in Southern part of India but I need a financial support to plant the sandalwood for land and other expenses. I did not find any information regarding this support from NABARD. Can you please provide more details regarding the financial support from Banks or NABAD or any other financial institution to support me? Please do email me.
    Appreciated your help! Thank you!

  6. I am told that sandalwood cannot prepare its own food. it depends on other plant like grass so we should grow grass at its base, is it true? what should we do?

  7. Thanks a ton for the valuable information.
    Could you please also name few best temporary and permanent host trees for sandal wood? apart from Melia dubia?
    Also what necessary steps needs to be taken before planting sandal wood? like do we need to have readily available host and etc

  8. Can we cut down white sandlewood at the age of 15-20yrs

    What heartwood can i get from that and price of that heart wood per kg for a 15year white sandal in present market

    • Today sandal heartwood rate will be INR 5000 to 6500 per kg or you may get relevant information through forest department.The yield will starts after 15 years of plantation.Some times, it may come to maturity by 13 years but it will not be uniform.

  9. But sir I want to start sandalwood nursery so please provide some information about germination of sandalwood seeds and your help also for to start nursery please us to establish plant nursery.

  10. Hi sir,I really appreciate you for the useful information which you are providing.I would like to know which are the best host plants for sandal wood plants apart from Malabar neem.Can we put Rose wood,Silver oak,Amla,Mahogany as host plants for sandal wood cultivation.If any fruits plants acts as host plants please advise us in this regard.

  11. Dear Sir,

    Kindly let me know the effects of using plant growth regulators like Stigmasterol, Campesterol or Brand GR on formation of Hard wood in Sandalwood.

  12. Sir, exactly on August 18th of 2017, I planted 1100 sandal wood plants of one year old of seedlings and Melia Dubia plants also with 12*12 feet spacing. I found 70% of plants got flowering in which age the flowers will start. Please tell me, I am using only natural manure.

  13. Dear sir, I need a visit of sandalwood cultivation of agriculture land in Karnataka and as well as I need srigandha plants give me information and contact details.

  14. Dear Sirs,
    I heard that sandalwood tree is basically a parasite and its roots tap and get nutrition from the roots of other trees; so it thrives on other plants. I would like to know at which stage of its life cycle the sandal behaves as a parasite and what are the best host trees/ plants that should be grown in its vicinity.

  15. Sir,
    I want to cultivate sandal wood formation can u tell me the what permissions I required for farming and permissions for marketing.

  16. Dear Agrifarming,
    I’m from Vietnam and I’m very much interested in Sandalwood cultivation. I have a plan to plant Sandalwood in Vietnam, but I have some questions regarding this:
    1. How we can sell sandalwood after tree cutting? In India, we have some places to buy sandalwood or not? If have, can I know where they buy sandalwood in India?
    2. Can we sell both seeds and leaves of Sandalwood? If it is the case, what is the yield of sandalwood seeds and hardwood?
    3. Can we well the sandalwood after 5 years growth? Or Can we sell sandalwood less than 10 years old?
    I have a plan to plant Sandalwood in Vietnam at least 20 acres in the first time.

  17. Can I cultivate any other crop with in the period of this 30 years. Can multicroping can be done. And if done, which crops or plants are suitable.?

    • Yes,during the initial year’s of the Chandan plantation, short duration crops, like any legume/cereal crops which have a shallow root system. The spacing between Chandan plants also should be considered while growing for intercrops.

  18. Sir/Madam, is it advisable to grow sandalwood in the western ghat areas of Chikmagalur and Sakleshpur where there is heavy rainfall.

  19. Sandalwood Nursery चन्दन का पौधा
    40/- per Plant प्रति पौधा
    call at 7754073616, 9319924653

  20. I want to sale Chandan tree which is 20 years old all Chandan tree’s girth are 33 cm or 44 cm respectively, where to sell Sandlewood? Please reply immediately.

  21. Hi sir, we are from Hubli area so in this area completely black soil and it has more water holding capacity, so we can cultivate Sandalwood in our 6 acre land or not, please give me information about this.

  22. I need some clarification regarding the math used for profit estimation. You mentioned that a 20 year old plant yields 4 Kg of wood and that 1 acre can have 400 trees. This means an acre would give about 4*400=1600 Kg, where as you mentioned 5000 Kg. That’s a huge difference. Can you please clarify?

  23. There is a huge demand for Indian Sandalwood both in Domestic and international Market.
    In One acre of land 300 sandal wood trees are cultivate.
    Harvesting after 15years
    Each tree produces 100 Kg of useful wood.
    Heart Wood 25 Kg (Present market rate per kg is INR15000/-)
    Sap wood 50 kg (Present market rate per Kg is INR 2500/-)
    Misc part 25kg (Present market rate per kg is INR1000/-)

    Each tree value is INR 25×21000=5,25,000/-

    One acre produce is INR 5,25,000×300=INR 15,75,00,000/-
    (RUPEES ONETHOUSAND/FIVEHUNDRED/SEVENTYFIVE/LAKHS ONLY) ie;Rupees 15.75 crore
    Figures are conservative and taken as on to days rate,one can be rest assured after 15 years it will be
    Rs 15.75cr+ 15% to 20% at the least.

    The estimated cost of investment including the cost of land per acre ,Investment on saplings,water,security,
    machinery ,farming staff etc INR 2.5Crores (Assuming Land Cost at INR 2.2 Cr per acre and INR 30 lakhs for infrastructure facility.
    In addition as host plants are to be cultivated through out the period,income at regular interval is ensured depending upon the type of host plant cultivated ,which will take care of the maintenance cost .

    With an investment of INR 2.5 Cr one will be getting returns of INR 15.75Cr and if one has land already,it will be with an investment of INR 30lakhs will get 15.75 Cr after waiting for 15 years.
    Plus both state and Central Governments are extending incentives and subsidies to encourage the cultivation of Sandalwood.
    People are misguided about the theft ,diseases and relatively long period of harvesting.
    But what is on this earth which can give you such a R O I ? and risk and waiting are justified.
    but as for the theft is concerned I W S T,Bengaluru has developed a ‘chip’ to fit in to each tree which will make the theft almost impossible.

    IN THE PRESENT SCENARIO OF AGRICULTURE AND INVESTMENT CULTIVATION OF SANDAL WOOD IS THE MOST APPROPRIATE AND A WISE ACTION,and one will be helping the nation to earn foreign exchange while self and or group becoming a Millionaire .

    Please contact I W S T,Bengaluru and one will get all the assistance ,guidance in this venture.

    INSTITUTE OF WOOD SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY,080-23340529,
    for more information please contact Director, IWST dir_iwst@icfre.org and Extension Officer
    extension_iwst@icfre.org and also do not hesitate to call DR.H.S.ANATHAPADMANABHA,AN INTERNATIONAL AUTHORITY ON SANDALWOOD CULTIVATION ON mOB # 98840142825.

  24. Can you please explain the cultivation of Malabar neem plants too and their cultivation, marketing them. The subsidies that were available to plant these.

  25. Sir, i just read your article on sandalwood farming my question is that how i protect trees from thief does we get any insurance on trees.

  26. I am seriously exploring sandalwood cultivation on our land. Do you provide end to end consultancy and management for a fee or do you know of any recognized organization that does?

    Also, a lot is made out about theft and security risk. How real is that?
    Looking forward to your reply.

    Thanks

    • We don’t provide any agriculture services. Definitely, you should secure the sandalwood plantation especially when they are close to a marketable stage. You must get a forest department permission to cut and sell it.

  27. Helloo Sir

    Could you please prepare project report of sandal wood cultivation with Malabar neem as inter crop.

    My major questions are how many sandal wood and Malabar in 1 acre and what are the best distances between trees.

    Thanks
    Raj

  28. Hi Sir,
    Thank you for sharing the information. A Farming developers contacted me and said they are selling 150 sqyrd land for 1,50,000/- with a sandalwood plantation of 13 trees. He said yielding period of sandalwood is 15 yrs. The farming is done in land of 65 acres. He told they will take the maintenance of sandalwood plantation for the 15 yrs, at the last they would take 32% of money and give us the 72% to the customer. Is it good for taking it.
    Kindly suggest sir.

    Regards,
    Naresh

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