Plant grass seed in the fall to give it an opportunity to become established before hot weather hits. Fall grass planting is also recommended by the University of Minnesota because fewer weed seeds will compete with the grass seed (than would in spring) and because, with shorter days and cooler nights, it is easier to maintain the moisture required for germination. Allow plenty of time for soil preparation before planting. Kansas State University says proper seedbed preparation is the most important step for growing a healthy lawn.
Have soil tested to determine the pH. If the pH level is below 5.5, apply lime; if it is above 7, apply elemental sulfur. Amend the soil with compost if additional organic matter is needed. Till the soil to a depth of about 6 inches.
Rake the area to be planted, breaking up any clods and creating a one to two percent slope away from any buildings. Water the area and allow the soil to settle for a week.
Add grass seed to the spreader. Sow the seed at the recommended application. Consult the package for information on the seeding rate for the type of grass you have selected. Sow half the seed vertically and then the other half horizontally.
Rake the seed in lightly so that it is covered with approximately 1/8 to 1/16 inch of soil. Apply starter fertilizer according to package directions. Cover the area with a thin layer of mulch to help retain moisture.
Water the grass seed once or twice daily, sprinkling lightly, to keep it moist for germination, which often takes one to two weeks. Water less frequently after grass has sprouted.