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Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Indian Sandalwood (Santalum album) belongs to the family Santalaceae

Santalum is a genus of woody flowering plants, commercially valuable because of its highly valued fragrant heartwood, which contains sandal oil that is used in perfumes, cosmetics, medicines and also in incense sticks industries.

It is believed to be the most valuable species because of a high content of essential oil in heartwood and roots (0.9-8%), which is a higher proportion of α- (41-55%) and β-santalols (16-24%) in essential oil.

This essential oil used to treat wounds and skin blemishes as well as to reduce stress and hypertension.

Sandalwood essential oil has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and astringent properties.

Tissue Culture Technology

The long-term exploitation of sandalwood had a serious impact on the industry and there is now an urgent need to undertake some extensive planting.

Although traditional vegetative propagation can be accomplished by grafting, air layering and with root suckers, the production of clones is inefficient, time-consuming and highly dependent on the season.

To achieve the level of quality planting required using tissue culture methods would be the best solution for mass propagation.

An effective micro propagation protocol would greatly benefit the development of the sandalwood “industry” and increase productivity.

Climate : Sandal Wood crop grows well in hot and humid climatic conditions.

Soil : Sandalwood can be grown well in drained soils having good organic matter. However, red sandy loam soils are best for their growth and yield. Sandalwood grows better in slightly alkaline soils with a PH range of 6.5 – 7.5.

Land Preparation :Give a couple of ploughings to bring the soil to fine tilth stage and weed free. The pits size of 45x45x45 cm should be dug during land preparation. Expose pits for sun for a couple of days to dry up the pits for destroying the pests if there.

Spacing :The plant to plant distance should be 12 ft x12 ft. 300 plants can be accommodated in an acre.

Weeding and Thinning : Weeding and thinning should be carried at regular intervals for establishing a standard framework of sandalwood plantation.

Harvesting : Usually our sandalwood trees will be ready for harvesting after 12 years of planting. During harvesting of sandalwood, the softwood is removed and then hardwood is chipped which would be converted into powder in a mill. After soaking the powder in water for 2 days and distilled. The essential oil from sandalwood is rectified by re-distillation and filtration.

Yield :4-5 kg of heartwood yield per plant is expected after 10-12 years of planting. Primary factors that influence the sandalwood growth are selection of plant material, selection of land, host plant management, irrigation management, and pest and disease control management.

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