Fred T. Davies grew up in central New Jersey, working on potato farms in the summer as a teenager, but never considered horticulture as a career opportunity. After receiving a BA from Rutgers College (1971), he hitchhiked and backpacked around the world for a year with his best friend, who happened to be a horticulturist – Jaime Lazarte. Their travel focused on agriculture, and he got hooked on the international niche opportunities of horticulture in producing high-end value crops for exportation. With globalization, the niche opportunities for high-value horticultural crops are as strong as ever! Davies later received a MS in horticulture (Rutgers University, 1975) and PhD in horticulture and plant physiology with a specialization in tropical agriculture (University of Florida, 1978).
At Texas A&M University he has had teaching–research appointments as an Assistant Professor, Department of Horticultural Sciences and Faculty of Plant Physiology (1979–83); Associate Professor (1984–90), and Professor and Faculty of Molecular and Environmental Plant Sciences (1990–present). He has also been a Visiting Scientist, USDA Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, Visiting Associate Professor, Oregon State University (1987); Visiting Professor, Monterrey Tech University (ITESM), Queretaro, Mexico and Visiting Scientist, CINVESTAV Plant Biology Institute, Irapuato, Mexico (1993–94); Visiting Professor, National Agrarian University (UNALM), Lima, Peru, and Visiting Scientist, International Potato Center (CIP), Peru (1999–2000).
He currently teaches courses in plant propagation, and nursery production and management. His research has been supported by NASA, NSF, USDA, J.S. Guggenheim Foundation, USIA Senior Fulbright Program, HRI, industry support and other endowments. He has given 140 invited presentations, including international conferences in Mexico, Peru, Guatemala, India, Israel, France, Ghana, Spain, Italy, China, and Canada. Publications include: 91 refereed journal articles, 18 books/teaching manuals, 71 non-refereed journal articles, and 39 symposia proceedings. He has advised 12 Masters and 13 PhD students. He has taken three sabbaticals: USDA Horticultural Crops Laboratory, and internationally in Mexico and Peru. He remains active with industry groups, including the International Plant Propagator's Society (IPPS–SR), having served as President, International Delegate, and currently as Editor.
Davies has been an ASHS member since 1975. He has served ASHS in many capacities, including Chair, ASHS Certified Horticulturist (ASHS-CH) Committee (2005–present) to professionalize horticulture by developing a national certification program in horticulture for the practitioner. He has served on the Task Force–Future of Horticulture, (2004–2007); Fellows Screening Committee (2005–2007); Vice-President of International Division and ASHS Board of Directors member (2001–2003), instituted ASHS International Colleague Affiliate Membership program to facilitate scientists in developing-world accessing electronic ASHS publications; Outstanding International Horticulturist Committee (2001–2004), Chair (2004); Certification Board for Certified Professional Horticulturist (2001– 2006), Chair (2005–2006); International Advisory Council, (2001–2006), Chair (2005–2006); Continuing Education Committee (2001–2005), Chair (2004–2005); Undergraduate and Sims Scholarship Committee (2001–2003), Chair (2003); Chair, ASHS-SR, Awards Committee for Distinguished Research (1996); Nominations and Elections Committee (1992–1994); gained approval for Root Growth and Rhizosphere Dynamics WG (1988); Chair, Ornamentals Publications Award Committee (1986); Chair, Mycorrhizal WG (1986–1988); Chair, Plant Propagation WG (1981–1982).
Davies has been a J.S Guggenheim Fellow (1999); Fulbright Senior Fellow to Mexico (1993) and Peru (1999); Co-author of last four editions of Hartmann & Kester's Plant Propagation – Principles and Practices [Hartman, Kester, Davies, Geneve] (1990, 1997, 2002, 2011); Regents Professor (2010), Texas AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow (2007); Fellow of ASHS (2003); Fellow of the International Plant Propagators’ Society (2006); received the Distinguished Achievement Award for Nursery Crops from the ASHS (1989) – second recipient to receive award; L.M. Ware Distinguished Research Award, ASHS–SR (1995); S.B. Meadows Award of Merit, IPPS–SR (1994); Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching, TAMU (1997); Chancellor of Agriculture's Award in Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, TAMU (1998); L.M. Ware Distinguished Teaching Award, ASHS–SR (1998); L.C. Chadwick Educator's Award, American Nursery and Landscape Association (1999); Norman Jay Coleman Research Award, ANLA (2003); President (1987) and currently Editor and Board of Directors member, IPPS–SR (1994–present); gave the Plenary address, 50th Anniversary Canadian Society Plant Physiologists (2008).
He and his wife, Maritza, have two daughters: Alexandra and Katerina.