Lawn aeration is a crucial part of your annual lawn maintenance routine. It loosens the soil to prevent compaction, promoting healthy grass growth and helping to keep weeds from overtaking your yard. This lawn service will add to your spring clean-up costs, but it provides plenty of benefits that make it a worthwhile investment.
It’s possible to do DIY lawn aeration, but most homeowners leave this job to professionals. If you’re looking to pass the reins when it comes to aeration, TruGreen is one of the best lawn care companies you can hire for the job. TruGreen provides a vast range of additional services to maximize lawn health, all of which are relatively affordable and come with a satisfaction guarantee.
Lawn Aeration Costs at a Glance
DIYing lawn aeration is possible, and if you do most of the work yourself, it will be significantly cheaper than hiring a professional. It will take considerably more effort, so you’ll need to consider how much time you can dedicate to the project. In the end, lawn aeration costs much less than other lawn maintenance projects like installing a sprinkler system or tree removal. In this cost guide, we’ll discuss pricing and time commitments to help you decide which route is right for you.
- National average cost of DIY lawn aeration: $75-$100
- Time required for DIY lawn aeration: 1-4 hours, depending on property square footage
- Average cost of professional lawn aeration: $150-$250, depending on property square footage
- Time involved with professional lawn aeration: 30 minutes to 1 hour
DIY Lawn Aeration Costs
If you’re planning on completing your lawn aeration project yourself, you’ll have to rent a core aerator from a garden supply store or your local home improvement store. You’ll have a much larger time commitment, but you’ll have no additional expenses to consider.
Most homeowners pay between $75 and $100 to rent the equipment for a day, which should be enough time to get the job done, depending on the size of your lawn. If you have some experience with the process or you have a ride-on lawnmower or tractor that can pull a tow-behind aerator, you might be able to pay as little as $50-$60 for an hourly tool rental to complete the process.
Before you dive into renting a lawn aerator and getting to work, you’ll need to make sure your property is relatively clean. If you have leaves, sticks, or other lawn debris on your property, you’ll either have to spend the time to clear it yourself or pay for a spring clean-up. That service can cost between $200 and $600, depending on the size of your lawn. Of course, you can save that amount if you do it yourself.
Professional Lawn Aeration Costs
Hiring a professional like TruGreen to complete your lawn aeration will, of course, require much less of a time commitment for you. However, it will cost significantly more than DIY in most cases. Professionals tend to get the job done more quickly, and there’s less of a risk for mistakes, like over-aerating.
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Professional lawn aeration costs will depend primarily on the size of your lawn. Most homeowners pay between $15 and $18 for every 1,000 square feet of property. For an average lawn size of ¼-acre, that’s between $150 and $180, on average. A more extensive lawn, like ½ acre, will cost closer to $300 and $360. Given that the cost to have a professional complete the work is so close to the total for DIY aeration, most homeowners opt for the former.
Aeration by the Acre
Some homeowners with larger properties will often have to get quotes based on the number of acres they want to be aerated. Just like with aeration costs per 1,000 square feet, you’ll find a flat rate from most professional landscaping companies per acre.
The average cost to aerate an acre of lawn is around $700, with most jobs falling between $600 and $800. Multiple acres are usually billed at the same rate per acre, but some lawn service providers might discount oversized properties.
Overseeding is the process of laying grass seed on an already established lawn, often after a treatment like aeration. Overseeding often leads to a thicker, more appealing lawn if appropriately done, and it can fill in bare spots and help keep weeds from growing on your property. Overseeding can be expensive, especially when added to other services, like core aeration. Depending on your property size, it typically costs between $500 and $1,500.
Calculating Lawn Aeration Prices
Just like with any home improvement project, it’s crucial to understand the all-in cost of lawn aeration before you begin. Calculating your expenses will help you budget accordingly and leave room for additional services like overseeding, making aeration more worthwhile.
If you’re doing your own lawn aeration project, you’ll need to consider the size of the lawn and how long it will take you to complete the work to get an accurate aeration equipment rental price. If you can finish in one day, a $90-$100 total for equipment is probably accurate. However, you need to factor in gas and travel time, and the time it takes you to complete the project. Your time doesn’t cost you anything, of course, but some homeowners aren’t willing to spend the time to do the work properly.
For professional lawn aeration, there are many additional costs to consider. Some companies work based on an hourly rate, while others quote based on property size. Knowing which one you’ll be paying based on is crucial before you commit to service, as this alone can affect pricing quite a bit. You should inquire about the rates along with any minimums and additional fees, like travel expenses. You should also ask for a quote that includes any other services you might want, like overseeding, fertilization, or a spring clean-up.
Factors That Influence Aeration Cost
Lawn aeration might seem like a simple process, but there is a surprising number of factors you’ll have to consider if you want to estimate your costs accurately. We’ll discuss the most important factors that impact lawn aeration prices below.
By far, the most significant factor when it comes to estimating your lawn aeration costs will be the size of your property. Most professional lawn care companies price their aeration services based on property square footage or acreage, so this is a great place to start with your calculation. Larger properties require more time and effort and will always cost more to aerate. The average pricing per 1,000 square feet is between $15 and $17, and the average cost per acre is between $600 and $800.
Your location can affect your lawn aeration service costs in two ways. First, lawn care services are typically more expensive in areas with a higher cost of living, so your geographic location can have an impact on your total. Additionally, your distance from your lawn care professional can affect the total, as your professionals might factor in travel time if you live more than a few miles from their headquarters. In most cases, travel expenses won’t amount to more than $50.
There are three primary types of aeration: spike aeration, core aeration, and liquid aeration. Spike aeration is the least expensive because it’s the least involved. Spikes are driven into your lawn to make small holes to loosen the soil in this aeration process. Liquid aeration is slightly more expensive and involves an ammonium lauryl sulfate solution that naturally loosens the soil. Core aeration is the most time-consuming and more costly. It pulls small plugs out of your lawn, loosening the soil and promoting natural fertilization via decomposition.
As mentioned above, your lawn needs to be relatively clean and tidy before aeration can begin. Sticks, leaves, and other debris will need to be thoroughly cleaned up before the process starts, so you might have to factor a spring clean-up into your cost. This will total between $200 and $600 in most cases, depending on the size of your property and how much debris is on your lawn. Some homeowners also opt to add a dethatching service before the aeration is completed for maximum benefit. Dethatching usually costs between $175 and $300, but it can increase significantly depending on your property size.
Negotiating Pricing & Package Deals
In some cases, you can negotiate the price of aeration, but this is often only with smaller, local lawn care companies. More importantly, you can use package deals available from local and national lawn maintenance companies to reduce the cost of aeration. For example, aeration alone might cost $150, but coupling that with lawn fertilization, overseeding, and other services will typically result in a lower cost per service.
Lawn Aeration Methods
There are three primary types of aeration you can choose for your lawn. Each has its upsides and drawbacks, but all methods ultimately work to loosen the soil and limit compaction on your property. We’ll discuss the different aeration methods briefly below.
- Spike Aeration: Spike aeration involves driving thin spikes into your lawn to loosen the soil manually. This works by making some room in the top layer of dirt from which your grassroots pull nutrients and water. This is the least expensive aeration option.
- Core Aeration: For core aeration, a specialized machine pulls cylindrical plugs about a half-inch in diameter out of your lawn. This method provides the best mechanical aeration, and the plugs decompose and naturally fertilize the soil over time. This is the most costly form of aeration
- Liquid Aeration: Liquid aeration uses a solution with ammonium lauryl sulfate, a compound found in natural soaps. This chemical naturally breaks down organic material in the soil, loosening the layer from which your grass pulls nutrients and water. Liquid aeration is usually priced between spike and core aeration.
Additional Costs Beyond Aeration
Lawn aeration is an excellent tool for making your soil as hospitable as possible for your grass. It loosens any compaction, improving the overall appearance of your lawn and helping to limit weed growth naturally. However, aeration is just one piece of the lawn-care puzzle, and most homeowners will want to couple aeration with additional services for the best results.
Many homeowners opt for overseeding after aeration. Overseeding will help fill in any bald spots and promote healthy lawn growth that will choke out weeds. You can also use overseeding to get a more desirable mixture of grass species.
Overseeding can total anywhere from $500 to $1,500, depending on your property size.
Fertilization is another common lawn service following aeration. Along with compaction, nutrient deprivation can lead to poor lawn appearance and weed growth. Fertilization services from a reputable lawn care company will restore the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels in your soil based on a soil test.
The average fertilization services will total around $350, on average, but your cost can fall anywhere between $100 and $550.
Tree & Shrub Care
Once aeration is completed to improve the appearance of your grass, you might want to order tree and shrub care to beautify the rest of your property. This service can also enhance the overall look of your property and boost the health of your garden beds.
Tree and shrub care totals between $50 and $1,000, depending on the number and size of trees and shrubs and the type of care they need.
Finally, some homeowners might want to add pest control services to their aeration project. This is a standard add-on service for homeowners struggling with spiders, grubs, ants, mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, and termites on their property. Pest control can either be reactive or proactive if you know what insects are typically an issue in your yard or home, and it will help protect your lawn from damaging insects.
Lawn pest control costs can vary based on the pest being treated, the extent of the issue, and the size of your property. You can expect to pay between $150 and $500 in most cases, while perimeter pest control for termites might be significantly more expensive, sometimes closer to $1,000.
Why Your Lawn May Need Aeration
Many homeowners don’t know when and why their lawns need aeration, so they fail to provide their grass and soil with the proper attention.
Ultimately, lawn aeration helps prevent and reverse soil compaction. Compaction will not only starve your grass of water and necessary nutrients — leading to poor grass health, brown spots, and a sickly appearance — but it also promotes weed growth and can welcome certain lawn pests.
Most lawns benefit from an annual aeration service, but you can use the below symptoms to determine if your property needs aeration more or less frequently.
Thin and Dry Grass
The grassroots struggle to get the water and nutrients required for healthy growth when your soil gets compacted. As a result, you might see thinning spots on your lawn or visibly dry or brown grass as a result of insufficient water. Patchiness and bald spots are common if compaction is a major issue.
Pooling Water After Rain
The water should naturally soak into your soil and dissipate when it rains. However, soil compaction makes it more challenging for water to seep into the ground, so you might notice water pooling on your lawn if compaction is a problem. This is a clear indication that lawn aeration is required to loosen up the dirt.
Thatch is the buildup of decomposing organic matter that sits between your healthy grass and the soil below. Thatch is beneficial for lawn health, but a thatch layer that is thicker than about a half-inch could mean the soil below is compacted and preventing the matter from decomposing and returning to the ground. You can dig out a small section of your lawn to check if dethatching and aeration are required.
Some properties might have bare spots that allow you to assess the level of soil compaction directly. A simple test for soil compaction is to push a screwdriver into the dirt. If it goes in relatively easily, you likely don’t have a compaction problem. If there’s significant resistance, aeration will probably benefit your soil and grass.
Uneven Grass Growth
Soil compaction can occur in certain areas of your yard frequented by foot traffic or vehicle traffic. If you notice areas of your lawn growing more slowly than others, your soil could be compacted and stunting growth. Aeration in these areas will be beneficial for creating more even, healthy development.
Is Lawn Aeration Worth it?
Yes, absolutely. Lawn aeration is the best method for reducing and preventing soil compaction. While the service will add between $150 and $180 to your lawn care maintenance costs, it will promote healthy grass growth and help you naturally keep weeds from taking over your lawn. The cost of aeration pales in comparison to the price you’ll pay for ongoing weed treatments and other services to keep the grass healthy in compacted soil.
Lawn aeration is a popular but often misunderstood lawn care service. It’s wildly beneficial for your overall soil and lawn health, as it reduces soil compaction and gives your grass unhindered access to the nutrients and water required for healthy growth. Lawn aeration coupled with other services — like fertilization, overseeding, and pest control — can help promote the healthiest lawn possible.
It’s possible to DIY lawn aeration, but most homeowners opt to hire a professional, mainly because the cost for the service isn’t much more expensive than renting the equipment to do it yourself. TruGreen is one of the best professional lawn care companies for aeration. It provides affordable aeration, a myriad of additional services to improve the look and health of your lawn, and a satisfaction guarantee on all of its work. Check out TruGreen’s aeration and service plans today to see which works best for you.
Today’s Homeowner’s Rating Methodology
At Today’s Homeowner, transparency and trust are our most important values for the reader. That’s why we took the time to create an objective rating system and score each lawn company/service according to our methodology.
Our research team dug deep into the fine print of contracts, combed through more than one hundred customer reviews, and thoroughly investigated all of each lawn care service’s services, costs, and products. We’ve done the homework for you by researching nearly all of the lawn care companies on the market so you can have the information you need to make the best choice for your home.
We developed a formula to objectively determine the best lawn care companies and give each a score out of 100 based on the following criteria:
- Plan Options (30): Do they provide a variety of plan options? We looked at the number of plans each company offered and the flexibility of adjusting the plan.
- Services offered (20): How many services are offered in each plan? We looked at the number of lawn care coverages, including weed control, seeding, irrigation, aeration, dethatching, and more.
- Trust (10): What do customers say after their lawn has been serviced? Does this company offer a guarantee? We considered how satisfied customers are post-service if the company does what it says it will, BBB accreditation, and service guarantees.
- Prices (10): How reasonable are the costs of the plan or service in comparison to the industry average? We compared the costs of each company to competitors that offer the same lawn services.
- Unique perks (10): Does the company offer discounts or special services such as organic treatments, pest control, or a mobile app? We looked for perks each company offers that set them apart from the competition.
- Customer Service (10): How is the customer experience when contacting the company? We considered the speed of response, weekend/holiday availability, and ease of communication through phone calls, email, and online chat functions.
- Nationwide availability (10): How many states does the company offer its services? Companies that operate nationally and in all zip codes are favored over those with limited availability.