Step 7. Prepare the Surface and Overseed It
Before you begin, choose the seed that is best for your geographical area and buy the amount you need to cover the size of your lawn.
You have several tool options for spreading seed evenly and at the recommended rates. They include your own hands, hand-held and walk-behind spreaders, and slit-seeders (power seeders), which are power machines that cut shallow slits in the soil and sow seed at the same time. Slit-seeders, available at many rental stores, are the preferred tool, especially if you were not able to remove all thatch prior to overseeding.
Before sowing seed, use a thatching rake to roughen the exposed soil to a depth of ½-inch. Second, apply seed to the edges of the area you are sowing first. Third, divide your seed, and apply half while walking in one direction and the other half while walking in a perpendicular direction. Spread extra seed on bare areas, and lightly cover the seed with a mixture of compost and topsoil. Then spread more seed on top. If you were not able to remove all thatch, or if you have a higher percentage of weeds, sow a little extra seed. If using a spreader, set it to deliver the seed as recommended by the seed producer.
Overseed in the late summer and/or early fall. You may also try this technique in early spring, but the fall gives the young grass plants a better chance to germinate, establish strong roots, and store food needed for a head start in the spring.
Overseed in the spring or early summer to give young grass plants a better chance to germinate, establish strong roots, and store food needed for a head start in the fall.