Ornamental horticulturist joins Uvalde center staff

By: Paul Schattenberg, 210-467-6575, paschattenberg@ag.tamu.edu

Contact: Dr. Daniel Leskovar, 830-278-9151, d-leskovar@tamu.edu
Dr. Raul Cabrera, 830-278-9151, r-cabrera@tamu.edu

UVALDE – Dr. Raul Cabrera, Texas AgriLife Research associate professor of ornamental horticulture, joined the staff of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde on Feb. 1.

“We’re excited to have someone of Dr. Cabrera’s extensive horticultural background here at the center,” said Dr. Daniel Leskovar, resident director of research at the Uvalde center. “His knowledge and background will be beneficial in addressing issues of importance to the area in relation to vegetable and ornamental crops, as well as water-use efficiency and the impact of agriculture, urban development and industry on the environment.”

Dr. Raul Cabrera (left), ornamental horticulturist with Texas AgriLife Research, has joined the staff of the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center in Uvalde. (Texas AgriLife Extension Service photo)

Cabrera earned a master’s degree in plant physiology and doctoral degree in plant biology from the University of California at Davis. He received his bachelor’s degree in agronomy and horticulture from the Universidad Autonoma Agraria Antonio Narro in Mexico.

His experience includes more than 12 years with AgriLife Research in Dallas, work as an Extension specialist and assistant professor at Rutgers University, and work as a graduate research assistant in the department of environmental horticulture at the University of California at Davis.

Cabrera’s specific areas of study with AgriLife Research include nutrient and water uptake and use efficiency in ornamental crops and landscape plants; irrigation water quality and salinity tolerance; greenhouse rose production and nutrition; nursery production practices and their effect on post-transplant (landscape) performance; arboriculture; controlled-release fertilizers; and hydroponics and fertigation management.

“My current projects and research activities include optimizing the productivity and quality of ornamental plants and crops through a judicious use of water and fertilization, searching for best management practices, and resource-efficient native plant materials that will meet these goals,” he said. “As ornamental crops and landscape plants can be massive water users, the future of these commodities is being seriously challenged by recent droughts and water competition from other agricultural, urban and industrial activities.”

Some of the businesses, agencies and organizations with which Cabrera is currently working include the J.H. Hill Foundation, the International Cut Flower Growers Association, the Wintergarden Groundwater Conservations District, Scotts Company LLC, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Texas Department of Agriculture.

“Work with ornamental plants not only has practical economic significance for the ever-growing green industry in Texas, the research component has potential for horticulture and floriculture, as well as for ecosystem restoration and other research and applications,” Cabrera said. “I’m looking forward to continuing my work with area stakeholders toward examining the environmental, financial and societal benefits of ornamental horticulture to the region, state and beyond.”

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