Dull yellow spots, bare patches and slow growth are signs your lawn needs repair. I’m Lisa Hilgenberg form Chicago Botanic Garden with tips on turf repair.

Mid-August through early September provides the ideal conditions to seed improving your lawn. Kentucky blue and fescue grasses thrive with cooler temperatures when the soil is still warm. The seed takes off and becomes well established by late fall.

Aerate thin lawns with a hollow tined fork or power lawn aerator for large lawns alleviating soil compaction. Over seed and top dress with an inch of organic matter. Continue to water 1-2” per week.

Rake up and reseed areas burned by nitrates and salts in doggie urine. Consider dogscaping a mulched area for your pet to use with this in mind.

Organic approaches to fall fertilization include sprinkling natural phosphorus in the form of bone meal over your lawn. Continue to mow turf to 2-3” so that no more than 1/3rd of the leaf blade is removed in one cutting. Let grass clippings remain on the lawn to take nitrogen into the soil as they break down.

Lisa Hilgenberg is the Regenstein Fruit & Vegetable Garden Horticulturist. She teaches classes for the Joseph Regenstein, Jr. School of the Chicago Botanic Garden and mentors interns from the Garden’s urban agriculture programs in the summer. Lisa draws on a rich family farming tradition, having spent many summers on her grandparents’ farms in Iowa and Minnesota. You can follow Lisa on Twitter @hilgenberg8.

Want more gardening tips?  You can read other online articles or listen to previous podcast episodes from WBBM Newsradio’s Gardening Tips segment.