Michael Polozola recently joined the LSU AgCenter central region faculty as a horticulture agent and statewide point of contact for pecan extension outreach.
Polozola has a bachelor’s degree in plant and soil systems with a horticulture science concentration and a master’s degree in plant, environment and management, both from LSU. He earned a doctorate in horticulture science in 2018 from Auburn University.
A Louisiana native from Greenwell Springs near Baton Rouge, Polozola has field-based experience in pecan and horticulture research and hydroponic greenhouse systems.
“We have a lot of untapped potential with our pecans, especially with some of our native pecans,” he said.
He hopes to work with pecan producers to identify native cultivars with scab resistance, drought tolerance and other desirable characteristics that might be worth propagating.
“Louisiana is really unique with so much native production that we have the potential to look at some of those native groves and see what would be good on a national scale,” he said.
In addition to pecans, Polozola also has general horticulture responsibilities in Rapides, Avoyelles, Allen, Evangeline, St. Landry and Pointe Coupee parishes.
His plans include promoting the Louisiana Super Plant program and working with nursery growers in the region.
“I enjoy responding to calls from growers who need assistance solving problems with their gardens,” he said.
Polozola became interested in horticulture as a teenager growing and showing camellias with his grandparents. He was the youngest camellia judge in the nation at age 17 and continues to judge at flower shows.
“I would like to start a camellia society in the area if there is interest in promoting a local show,” he said.
Polozola is domiciled at the Central Region office at the AgCenter Dean Lee Research and Extension Center.