2006 Recipient of the Arthur T. Potts Award
Dr. Julian W. Sauls
Julian W. Sauls was born in 1943 in Walthall County, Mississippi, the first of seven children. Because his father was an oil field worker, the family moved around southwestern Mississippi and southeastern Louisiana for the first several years of his life, which resulted in Julian having attended four separate schools during the first and second grades. The family then settled in Washington Parish, Louisiana, and Julian graduated from Angie High School in Angie, Louisiana, in 1961, where he was an excellent student as well as an outstanding athlete in both baseball and basketball.
Julian received a BS (1965) and MS (1968) in Horticulture from Louisiana State University, and the doctorate (1972) in Fruit Crops from the University of Florida. Following a year in Honduras and another year in Mexico, where he developed an interest in tropical fruits, Julian joined the Texas Agricultural Extension Service in 1973 as County Extension Horticulturist for Tarrant County. After two years in Fort Worth, he transferred to the Florida Cooperative Extension Service as a faculty member and Extension Specialist with the Fruit Crops Department of the University of Florida, where he served five years before returning to Texas.
In 1980, Julian rejoined the Texas Agricultural Extension Service as the Extension Citrus Specialist, headquartered at Texas A&M University’s Agricultural Research and Extension Center in Weslaco, Texas, where he has remained to date. In addition to his primary responsibility of working with the Texas citrus industry, his initial appointment also included 20 percent of his time devoted to the wholesale nursery industry of the Lower Rio Grande Valley and the Valley Nursery Growers Association, the latter of which continued throughout the 1980’s.
During his tenure in Weslaco, Julian has been responsible for the development and coordination of the overall Extension citrus educational program, in cooperation with county Extension personnel, citrus growers, industry representatives and research personnel. Major program emphases have been in citrus nutrition, orchard floor management and irrigation management, but his program has included all facets of citrus production management.
To support his program efforts, Julian has conducted numerous practical research projects, from insecticides, herbicides, fungicides and nutritional products to irrigation systems, alternative rootstocks, citrus nursery practices and grapefruit shape studies. Many of these projects have been carried out in his own groves and nursery, both at his own expense and with assistance from various agrichemical companies whose products he was evaluating.
Julian has been a prolific writer throughout his Extension career, having authored or co-authored over 100 Extension publications on citrus and other fruits. During the early 1990’s, he headed a team of Extension specialists and researchers to develop the Texas Citrus Handbook. In 1997, embracing the computer age wholeheartedly, Julian used the proceeds from the sale of the Citrus Handbook to fund the creation of the Texas Citrus and Subtropical Fruits website, using the Citrus Handbook as the initial basis. Since that time, he has updated and expanded the website many times, including the additions of sections devoted to home fruit production and for the Texas Citrus Fiesta Youth Show. The popularity of the site is well documented, averaging over 90 thousand hits monthly during 2004, with about one-fourth of the hits being user sessions.
He has published a monthly newsletter (Valley Citrus Notes) continuously since 1987, and it has evolved from a typical mail out to a completely electronic newsletter that is simultaneously posted on the web. Julian also published monthly newsletters for the peach and pecan industries of South Texas and for the Valley nursery industry during their heydays of the 1980’s.
Julian developed the first electronic newsletter in Texas Extension when he converted Brush Country Horticulture, an in-house, monthly newsletter for county Extension agents across South Texas, to e-mail distribution. As editor, he solicited contributions from other Extension specialists who had responsibilities for horticulturally-related topics and programs of interest to county agents.
While group meetings, programs, conferences, travel, writing and web development have received their share of Julian’s time and efforts, the highlight of his programs is his ability to visit one-on-one with citrus growers, homeowners and county Extension agents to discuss citrus and other fruits and how to grow them. His vast knowledge—gained from a lifetime of study, travel, consulting, and hands-on experience in his own orchards and nursery—and his ability to share that knowledge with people in terms that they understand are hallmarks of his career.
He has been a member of the American Society for Horticultural Science, the ASHS—Southern Region, the Florida State Horticultural Society, the International Society of Citriculture, and the Interamerican Society for Tropical Horticulture throughout his career. During his collegiate years, he was honored with election to the honor societies of Alpha Zeta, Sigma Xi, Gamma Sigma Delta and Scabbard and Blade.
Julian has served the Rio Grande Valley Horticultural Society in various capacities continuously since 1980. He chaired the Potts Award Committee for several years and has been Associate Editor for many years. In addition, he is one of only two people to have served two terms as President of the Society.