Step 1: Remove Thatch
To begin the process, you want to do a de-thatching to your entire lawn. The idea with removing the thatch is to expose the soil between the old grass plants currently existent. Thatch is the dead, decomposing grass between the currently existing plants. What you want to do is actually expose that soil. If you have a smaller lawn, you can use a manual thatching rake which will do a satisfactory job (Thatching Rake, 265-6241). De-thatching will increase the seed germination rate when you are doing a re-seeding (Towable De-Thatcher, 264-1220). For lawns with heavier, compacted soil such as clay, Jurrens recommends using an aerator (Spike Aerator, 264-1221). "It actually increases the oxygen, water absorption and fertilizer absorption into the soil."
Step 2: Test Soil pH
Soil pH levels are important because they help your lawn's ability to absorb nutrients. Some signs of improper pH levels would include disease, thinning turf, fertilizer ineffectiveness, mossing or matting of the turf. A pH of 6.3 to 6.8 is ideal for most grass plants. Use a home pH test kit or send a sample to your local extension service to find out your soil's pH. You use pelletized lime to increase the pH levels; you use sulfur to lower the ph levels.
Step 3: Fertilize
It's now time to apply a starter fertilizer. The starter fertilizers will help maximize root-building of the new seedlings and it will help get a great start to a thick, lush lawn.
Step 4: Re-seed
You're now ready to do a re-seeding. You want to make sure you select the same variety of grass seed currently existing in the lawn to ensure that it's going to blend naturally into the existing grass plants. You actually want to do the edges of your lawn first. Then cut
the seed amount in half, and spread the interior parts of the lawn in
one direction at the half-rate and then the other direction at the half-rate.
Step 5: Water
The most important part when re-seeding or restoring a lawn is water. New seedlings need to be watered at least twice a day, until the new seedlings are at least two inches tall.
Step 6: Keep Your New Lawn Looking GreatAfter the new grass is about three inches tall it can be mowed. Make sure your mower blade is sharp. Here are some other things you can do. "Some proper maintenance throughout the season would include bare spot repair, weed, disease and fungus issue repair, solving any insect or grub issues, and then following a fertilizer program such as the Menards® Premium Lawn Fertilizer line." Jurrens says a healthy lawn that is regularly fed makes it harder for weeds to get a foot-hold and is more resistant to weather extremes.