Santalum album commonly known as Sandal or Chandan is a small evergreen tree attaining a height of 12 to 13 m and girth of 1 to 2.4 m with slender, drooping as well as erect branching. The stem is initially green and tender, gradually turns brownish and becomes hard, the bark is reddish-brown or dark brown and red inside. Sapwood is white, scented while the heartwood is yellowish to brown and strongly scented. It is a semi root parasite and found in association with another tree/shrub species.
Sandal is found all over India while more than go percent of the area is in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu and some part of Maharashtra Sandal tree flourishes well from 250 to 1,000 m altitudes on a different type of soils like sand, clay, and loam to clay loam soils in Maharashtra or some states It has adapted to sub-tropical, sub-montane and low hills climate in stare where Rainfall of the area is 700 to 1,000 mm and mean atmospheric temperature range from 20 to 30 C
Sandal fruits fresh from the tree of fallen on the ground are collected. March to April and from September to October. Seeds are soaked in water and depulped by rubbing. These are dried under shade and stored in polythene or gunny bags. Nearly 6,000 seeds constitute one kilogram and 80 percent of them retain viability up to 12 to 18 months. Viability gradually decreases after 9 to 10 months.
Freshly collected seeds of sandal exhibit 5 to 6 weeks of dormancy.
To hasten germination, the seeds are treated overnight (16hr) with gibberellin acid (0.05%) on average 75 percent of Seeds germination under laboratory conditions and 40 percent in field conditions.
* Nursery production and plantation Techniques
Nursery beds should be prepared in partially shaded area seedbeds of size 5 x 1 is formed with sand, soil, and FYM (2:1:2). Nematicides in the form of Thimet (250g/bed) are mixed with the soil, l kg seed is then spread uniformly over the bed covered with aim of Sand, watered and mulched with straw. The straw is removed when leaves appear to prevent fungal infections; the beds are sprayed with Diothane (0.2%) once in 15 days. The beds are watered once or twice a day depending on the climatic conditions.
Healthy sandal seedlings having a height of about 30 cm are planted in pits of 60 cm3 size with an escapement of 3×3 m at the onset of monsoon. Miscellaneous secondary host forestry species can be planted in quincunx system, in alternate lines plants such as Dalbergia Sissoo, Acacia catechu, Albizia lebbeck, Tectona grandis and Leucaena Leucocephala peajempea, Manigo, Neem, mango.
Utilization and Economic Importance
The sandal is considered a slow-growing tree under forest conditions (l cm girth/yr.) However, it can grow at the rate of 5 cm girth/yr or more even under favorable soil and moisture conditions. In tropical and sub-tropical climate Heartwood formation starts around 8 yr, of age. The oil content is around 3.5 percent, which is rated commercially viable. A sandal tree having a girth of 80 cm at breast height can yield about 15 to go kg of Heartwood.
The heartwood of sandal is described as astringent, antipyretic, cooling exhilarating, moderately hand durable, and strongly scented, yellow or brown in appearance. It is one of the finest woods for carrying and turning next only to ivory for intricate workmanship. Utility articles like jewelling cases, cabinet pastels, chessboard, penholders, knives, picturing frames caskets, etc.
are made out of it oil is also used in medicines as an antiseptic, antipyretic, antiscia -biotic, diuretic, expectorant. Stimulant and for treatment of bronchitis, dysuria gonorrhea, and urinary infections. However, its use as the base of fragrance has outweighed its use in medicine.
Dr. Yogesh Y. Sumthane, Ph. D., MBA, DM & F, Bamboo Research & Training Centre, Chandrapur