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Well you can go as simple as just broadcasting seed over the lawn. Your germ on that may be about 20% to 25%. Money wasted? Yeah!
Areating and then spreading seed works as well, but honestly the only seed that really germs well is what falls in the holes. Germ a bit better than the first, but still not great.
Using a slicer, a slit seeder, or a rennovater is really the way to go. Just to prove this, find a bare piece of ground and spread seed over it with a spreader at the recommended rate. Then run a slicer over it (providing that the ground is moist). It's amazing that most all of the seed gets covered! In an established thin lawn that needs overseeding the slicer works the same way. It pulls the seed down and gets it into contact with the soil. Your germination this way should be as close to what's listed on your bag of seed as possible.
As seeder slicers go I believe in seed first then slice over. HOWEVER i see new seeder slicer machines that have the seed box BEHIND the slicer. Am I missing something, or is this WRONG and backwards??? Even a local nursery here tells people to run a slicer over their lawn THEN spread the seed! wtf? Sorry, but in my book that's WRONG.
Aerate (almost to excess) the more holes the better with a coring aerator. A rolling one works better than a pision type as the rolling type will also tear the soil. The cores will act as top dressing and the hole make great places for new plants to start.
Wait a few hours for the cores and lawn to dry out before you seed. A slicing seeder only works good in dry to slightly damp conditions. Wet or gummy corew will mess up your seeder. A core should crumble in your hand to be right.
Next seed with a slicer seeder. Going over the lawn twice in a diamond pattern is possible. the seeder should be cutting 1/4 to 3/8 inch into the soil.
Do not go too deep but cut enough to get good soil exposure. The whole excercise of seeding is to get good seed / soil contact.
After care is as important as the seeding process.