It's like magic. The calendar changes to October, and so does the air. October is the best month of the year. I know many folks much prefer March or April, but I'll take October at least eight months a year. It might be a cloudy and gray day today, but October weather is almost impossible to beat. Cooler temperatures and lower humidity combined with many, many days of abundant sunshine make October a month like no other.
October is the time, if you're planning on planting almost anything, where you can't have more perfect conditions. In the last week, the weather has changed from quite warm and dry to seasonably mild temperatures accompanied by timely rainfall. Let's consider fall lawn over-seeding. With most locations in middle Tennessee having received nearly an inch of rainfall, (with some locations receiving much more than that), the moisture in the soil at the surface is at an optimal level. A key aspect of successful over-seeding is aeration. Aeration cannot be successfully accomplished when soil conditions are dry. Having adequate moisture is critical for enabling the aerator to properly penetrate the soil, thereby creating an opportunity for the seed to make contact with the soil. Grass seed that is sown on top of hard ground has no chance of being a permanent addition to a lawn. In the unlikely event it actually does germinate, the juvenile grass plant’s roots will not penetrate into the hard soil. If the roots failed to get properly established, those plants will die the first time the soil gets dry.
As for planting trees, shrubs and fall color, having adequate soil moisture makes the entire process much less cumbersome. I don't know about you, but I would rather dig holes wearing a flannel shirt using only a shovel, rather than wearing a tee shirt and being forced to use a pick to break the hard ground.
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