How Much Does Lawn Aeration Really Cost?

How Much Does Lawn Aeration Really Cost?

Lawn Aeration enhances both the appearance and health of any lawn by relieving soil compaction and increasing air, water, and fertilizer access for root systems. Aeration also breaks up thatch accumulation on its own or as part of an overseeding program. You can perform it either individually or as an initial step before conducting overseeding.

Average lawn aeration costs usually range between $135 and $145.00 for most lawns; smaller yards could pay as little as $85, with larger yards costing about $270 to aerate professionally.

Lawn Aeration Really Cost
Lawn Aeration Really Cost. Image by senivpetro on Freepik

 

Lawn SizeAverage Cost Tier Price
 1,000 – 3,000 square feet$85
 3,000 – 4,000 square feet$95
 5,000 – 6,000 square feet$105
 6,000 – 7,000 square feet$115
 7,000 – 8,000 square feet$125
 8,000 to 9,000 square feet$135
 9,000 to 10,000 square feet$145
 15,000 square feet$170
 25,000 square feet$270

 

Up to 3,000 square feet is offered at an economical flat fee price of $85, while for any area over this threshold the per 1,000 sqft charge increases by $10; beyond 10,000 sqft the charge ranges between $5-8 per 1000sf.

Core Aeration as the Ideal Aeration Method

A Core aeration is widely considered the optimal form of lawn aeration, creating holes while simultaneously loosening soil from between each hole with spike-style tools that poke out of them like pinpricks.

Core Aeration

A core lawn aeration provides openings that let air and water enter without compacting the surrounding soil.

Core Aeration involves using either a gas-powered machine, tow-behind unit, or hand tool with hollow tines to extract plug or cores of soil, grass and thatch from lawns using gas, tow behind unit, or hand tool methods and deposit them back on top of lawn or occasionally even rake away for recycling purposes.

Spike Aeration

The Spike aeration involves inserting metal spikes mounted to rotating spindles into your lawn to create holes, similar to core aeration.

Spike aeration differs from core aeration in that no soil is removed during spike aeration; rather, an opening is created at the expense of surrounding soil that becomes compacted laterally and becomes compacted over time.

Liquid Aeration

Liquid aeration costs roughly one dollar per square metre, not including the expense of renting or purchasing a backpack sprayer ($100 to $200).

Product contains liquid humates (organic materials) and surfactants (soap-like substances) to wet the soil more uniformly while aiding water penetration to some degree.

Liquid aerator products should only be seen as wetting agents; they do not serve to replace core or spike aeration methods.

How to Calculate Lawn Aeration Cost

Estimating lawn aeration costs can be done easily by measuring your lawn and then applying this measurement to price tables of average lawn aeration services.

Calculating lawn size requires measuring its area (square footage). Simply add up all sections for its total size.

An easier but less precise method is estimating that your lawn covers approximately 8,500-8,750 square feet; more likely this figure should be lower.

Residential lots on average cover an area of 10,890 square feet; subtracting 2,300 square feet – which represents the average home size – results in 8,590 square feet for lawn use, although hard surfaces could potentially bring this number down further to around 8000.

Factors Affecting Lawn Aeration Cost Factors

Two factors significantly impact lawn aeration costs: size and pricing structure of aeration services. Other notable considerations may include slope of the lawn and potential needs for overseeding after aeration.

Size of Lawn

Aerating larger lawns costs more, and larger yards tend to rely more heavily on less cost-efficient methods, like DIY pluggers or push spikers for their aeration needs.

Pricing Structure

While yard size will have an impactful influence on lawn aeration costs, prices do not always increase proportionately with it. Some professionals price lawn aeration according to size: the larger your lawn becomes, the less per-square-footage cost becomes.

Professional core aeration packages typically start from $85 for up to 3,000 square feet (around $28-29 per 1,000 sqf). Every additional 1000 sqf costs $10; over 10,000 square feet the cost drops down to between $5-8 per 1000 sqf.

Higher slopes usually increase the cost of lawn aeration because you must drive an aerator machine perpendicularly along their route instead of up or down to service them successfully. If you need to crab (turn partially uphill) the machine to prevent it from tipping over, you cannot safely aerate its slope. As a result, manual aeration costs will increase significantly, as will the costs for manual lawn aeration.

Overseeding

One purpose of aeration is often overseeding grass seed into newly created holes created from cored or spiked holes drilled through lawn turf is so as to allow new grass seeds into existing lawn areas.

Cost estimates range from $25 for 7 pounds of basic fescue seed up to $33 for heat-tolerant blue mix fertilizer seed, including delivery costs.

Discuss which grass seed varieties would work best with your region when speaking with your landscaper about creating an effective lawn design plan.

Cost of Grass Seed

Lawn SizeFescue SeedHeat-Tolerant Mix
3,000 square feet$45$80
5,000 square feet$75$135
10,000 square feet$150$265
15,000 square feet$225$400
20,000 square feet$300$530

How to Tell if a Lawn Requires Aeration

Lawn aeration is a project that should be done annually to keep your lawn healthy.

  • The soil is too dense for a screwdriver to penetrate. Stick the screwdriver into the lawn in several places. If the soil is hard to penetrate, it means that the lawn is very compacted. It should be aerated.
  • Pools of water on the surface : A lawn with water pools indicates that the soil has become too dense and compact to absorb any additional moisture. Aeration creates holes in the soil and allows water to percolate.
  • The grass is discolored or patchy: Aeration can be beneficial for lawns with many bare spots or lawns which are yellow or brown.
  • The Thatch can be seen. Thatch is a bed of interlocked dead and live grasses that normally hug the soil. Thatch removal becomes necessary when the thatch reaches the top of the grass shoots, usually one inch. Aeration does not remove thatch, but can help break it down to aid in removal. It can also prevent future over-thatching.

Tip

A core-type lawn aerator is usually the best tool for aerating your lawn. The spike-style aerators are also effective, but not as much as the core aerators.

Lawn Aeration: Professional vs. DIY

Aeration methodYear OneYear 3Year 2
Professional lawn aeration$145$145$145
DIY Tiller and Attachment$750$0$0
DIY tow behind (no tractor required)$500$0$0
Rent a gas-powered aerator for DIY$250$125$125

You can aerate your lawn using manual tools, or by renting or purchasing a towable or mechanical aerator.

Over three years, the cost of professional lawn-aeration is $435. For the first three or four years, both DIY options – a tiller attachment and a tow behind aerator on a garden tractor – cost more than professional lawn aeration. Then, the aerators start to pay for themselves.

Professional lawn aeration allows you to aerate large areas quickly without having to rent or buy aerating equipment. Professional lawn aeration is the best option for very large lawns.

Manual Aerator

The price of plug-style manual lawn augers that look like shovels starts at $20 to $50. The user pushes the double hollow tines in the lawn by stepping on the lower part of the aerator. The tines extrude the plugs when they create new holes.

This method produces holes of the right size for aeration. This method is slow and only suitable for the smallest of lawns.

Tiller

The price range for garden tillers is $200 to $1,000. Aerator attachments cost between $100 and $200.

You can use the garden tiller, a versatile tool, to prepare compacted soil or rock. You can also purchase a separate aerator to use with a tiller for aerating your lawn.

It is important to choose a tiller that comes with a complete set of attachments. These are specific to the brand and machine. Before purchasing a tiller, check the catalog of attachments.

Tow-Behind Air Aerator

You can purchase tow plug aerators for $300-700 or rent them at a cost of $50 per day. The cost does not include the tractor needed to tow the aerator. Some riding lawn mowers can tow an aerator.

Tow-behind Aerators look like small trailers. Hollow-tine spikes mounted on a spindle rotate with the forward movement, removing plugs along the way.

Gas-Powered Aerator

Rent a gasoline-powered professional coring aerator at a rental yard, home center or for about $110 to $125 a day.

In theory, these self-propelled walk-behind machines are capable of aerating up to 29,000 square feet an hour. However, in reality, the machine will aerate much less. Renting this machine for the first time would require that you factor in some learning time.

Questions to ask before lawn aeration

  • What type of aeration does this represent?
  • What type of machine does aeration use?
  • Can you aerate the slope? Will it cost more if you do?
  • When should I overseed my lawn?
  • When should I topdress my lawn?
  • What happens to the removed plugs?
  • Can I get a cheaper price if i sign a contract for yearly?
  • How should I maintain my lawn after lawn aeration?

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