Fall is usually the accepted time to plant grass seed so you will have a lush, green lawn by the time the weather warms up. April is the next best time. Seeding in spring must be done early so the grass has a chance to become established before summer heat sets in, but can't be done so early that the seeds will rot in the freezing and wet soil and to prevent weeds from overtaking the fresh seed. Seeding a lawn is less expensive than laying sod and works especially well for repairing thin patches on existing lawns.
Remove dead vegetation, sticks and large rocks from the planting area. Use a power rake to remove thick vegetative layers.
Till the soil with a rototiller to a 4-inch depth. Work in compost while tilling if the soil quality is poor or has excessive clay content to loosen it and improve it.
Apply 1.5 pounds per 1,000 square feet of seed starting fertilizer. Apply fertilizer before planting.
Set the drop seed spreader or fertilizer spreader to half the recommended setting on the seed bag, as you will be making two passes over each area. Make sure it is in the closed position then fill it half full with grass seed.
Move the spreader to your starting position on the lawn and open the spreader chute. Push it in horizontal rows at a steady pace. Once complete, seed the lawn a second time but in vertical rows to ensure the entire lawn is well covered. Refill the spreader as needed.
Lay a ¼-inch layer of peat moss or other organic mulch over the entire lawn.
Use a lawn roller on the entire seeded area, working in horizontal rows and minimizing overlap as you roll it. This ensures all seeds are in contact with the soil and speeds germination.
Lay a 2-inch layer of straw mulch over the seeded area. Mulching preserves soil moisture, helps prevent weeds and keeps the soil from refreezing.
Water two to three times daily when soil temperatures are above 55 degrees F. Keep the soil surface moist at all times but avoid causing puddles. Frequent, light watering for 10 minutes is all that's required.
Remove the straw once the grass shoots appear. Water for longer, 30-minute intervals once a day.