Planting new seed in the fall can be risky if you wait too long to sow the seed. It is the soil temperature that governs root growth and overall plant development. So, if you have a prolonged warm fall, the odds are in your favor. A quick cooling, or an early winter, will deter grass root development.
A research project by The Ohio State University Extension showed that cool-season grass roots can grow as much as 1" a week when soil temperatures are in the 50 — 65 degree range in the fall and spring.
Soil temperature is another good indicator when to aerate. Again, when soil temperatures are in that 50 — 65 degree range it is the best time to aerate your lawn for optimum root development. Core aeration provides an oxygen-rich environment for root growth and allows more water into the soil that also promotes root growth.