Homeowners can successfully aerate a lawn if they can handle a heavy machine. CONTRIBUTED BY WALTER REEVES

Lawn aeration can be done by a homeowner

Q: I want to aerate my fescue before fall overseeding. Do you have tips on doing it myself vs hiring a lawn service? Stephen Strickland, Cobb County

A: Generally speaking, homeowners can accomplish better aeration of their lawns than you’ll get from a commercial service. Homeowners can go over the lawn as many times as might be necessary (at least three passes in my experience) and you can correctly time the work to be done immediately after a rain or heavy irrigation. September is the optimum fescue seeding time so I think you might be better off to do a thorough aeration when the soil is moist and plant fescue yourself. But keep in mind that an aerator is a heavy machine and takes muscles to operate. Details at bit.ly/GAaerate.

Q: My lawn service put pre-emergent and fertilizer on my lawn on Sept 6. I think this was too late to fertilize zoysia. Am I wrong? Diane Evans, email

A: It depends on what strength fertilizer was put down. It is possible to fertilize at this time without problems. I would assume your lawn company knows what they’re doing and applied fertilizer correctly.

Q: Can I plant bermuda grass seed now? John Schaf, email

A: No. There is not enough time for the seeds to sprout and mature before cold weather sets in. You can plant sod now as long as you keep it from drying out this winter. Wait until next May to plant seed.

Q: I read somewhere you should not overseed with ryegrass in the first couple years of a new bermuda yard. Is this accurate? Adam Coco, Ball Ground

A: Overseeding bermudagrass with ryegrass is problematic because it stresses the bermudagrass while it is dormant. It can be difficult to get ryegrass to go away in spring when the bermuda is greening up. I recommend you wait a couple of years before trying your hand at overseeding.

Q: I’ve been told Zeon zoysia and Geo zoysia are the same grass. Do you know if this is true? Philip Giese, Buckhead

A: Both grasses are patented. They are therefore genetically and physically different. Geo zoysia can only be planted with sprigs or sod. Zeon zoysia can be planted by sprigs or sod or seed. If you are planning to install either one, insist that the sod be “Blue Tag Certified” by the Georgia Crop Improvement Association (certifiedseed.org). This assures that you’re getting the exact genetic grass you want, not something that looks similar.

Q: I have a pull-behind plug aerator. Will it do the job? S. Ero, email

A: It all depends on how deep the tool can penetrate into the soil and how many holes you make. Aim for ten holes, three inches deep per square foot. This may take several passes, at different angles, depending on which implement you have.

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Listen to Walter Reeves Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, follow him on Twitter @walterreeves, on Pinterest, or join his Facebook Fan Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener for more garden tips.

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