On average nationwide, professional lawn aeration costs start around $40-$70 and can be as high as $260, but the average cost is $150. Lawn aeration prices vary based on the size of your lawn, since most lawn care companies price aeration services by the square foot. The price can be part of a larger lawn care maintenance package that includes over seeding or mowing, as a seasonal cleanup and maintenance package or as a stand-alone service.
Lawn aeration is an essential part of maintaining a happy and healthy lawn. Before you hire a lawn care specialist to help, estimate your potential price with a breakdown of common cost factors and what to expect in the aeration process.
What's in this cost guide?
- Lawn aeration cost factors
- Benefits of lawn aeration
- How long does it take to aerate a lawn?
- How often to aerate your lawn
- What's included in lawn aeration
- Tips to hire a lawn care specialist
The total cost of lawn aeration will be different for everyone. Below are the most common factors that impact the labor costs and materials needed to aerate your lawn:
Aerators may charge by the square foot of lawn to be aerated, by the hour, or offer a set price that's good for up to 5,000-square feet of lawn. (Five-thousand square feet equals roughly 1/8 of an acre.)
For example, aeration prices from Johnny Green Thumb Lawn Care Service of Aurora, Colorado, start at $40 for both the front and back yards. Aeration prices from Hines Property Preservation of Durham, North Carolina, start at $75.
Aeration works best when the soil is moist and the grass is freshly mowed. Some pros will include the cost of watering and mowing the lawn in the cost of an aeration service. Others will expect you to mow and water before they arrive. Be sure to ask your lawn specialist if watering and mowing is included in the service before they arrive.
Many pros recommend fertilizing and seeding lawns right after an aerating them. Newly aerated lawns absorb nutrients from fertilizer more efficiently. Seeding will fill in patchy areas in the lawn, bringing new life to your turf and grass.
The national average cost for seeding ranges between $150 and $600, depending on the size of the yard, but most homeowners pay around $300. The cost for fertilizing runs between $35 and $180 nationwide, with most homeowners paying around $80 for a 5,000-square foot yard.
You can lower the cost of lawn aeration significantly if you buy a package deal. Nature's Caretaker of Lakewood, Washington, offers a lawn aeration and fertilization package for $259. Hines Property Preservation charges $150 to aerate, seed and fertilize up to 5,000 square feet of lawn.
Below is a breakdown of the national average cost for a one-time, full service lawn care:
- 0 - 1,000 square feet: $177
- 1,000 - 5,000 square feet: $230
- 5,000 - 15,000 square feet: $294
Lawn aeration is a process that removes small plugs of sod from your lawn to allow air, water, and nutrients to reach the roots of your grass. Aeration perforates your lawn like a piece of Swiss cheese and gives it room to breath.
Aerating your lawn lets it develop a strong root system, and prevents soil compaction. Water, air and nutrients cannot penetrate compacted soil, so when the dirt's hard, the lawn's unhealthy. Aeration also prevents lawn thatch – an accumulation of dead grass and roots – from strangling your lawn. It's a key part of caring for your landscaping.
A healthy lawn is more resistant to weeds, pests, foot traffic and stress from drought or heat, so investing in lawn aeration can save you money in the long run. Aerating a lawn is less expensive than replacing a lawn, and cuts down on other lawn maintenance costs. You'll need less pesticide, herbicide and water to keep the grass green if you're aerating regularly.
Lawn aeration for the average sized yard takes one to two hours to complete. The larger your yard, the longer it takes.
Most lawns should be aerated at least once a year. If your soil is compacted or has a high clay content, you need to aerate twice a year. If your lawn is new, aerate twice a year until it's established. If you have sandy soil, you may be able to aerate once every other year.
The type of grass in your lawn will determine when you should aerate. If you have cool season grasses like bluegrass, fescue or rye grass, aerate during its growing season in spring and fall.
For warm season grasses like Bermuda, buffalo, St. Augustine, and zoysia, aerate between late spring and early fall.
Never aerate when your lawn is stressed by heat or drought, but always when the soil is moist, so the plugs come out easily.
When you hire a lawn care professional to help aerate, their service will generally include:
If your soil is dry, the lawn care professional will wet the lawn so the aerator can perforate the ground and remove those plugs. They may also mow the grass, because aeration is most effective on short grass.
Some companies may require you to do the prep work yourself, or charge an additional fee if they do the prep work.
The professional will then use a machine with cylinder-shaped tines to perforate the ground and pull 1.5-inch plugs of grass, thatch and soil out of the ground. Some lawn aerators look a little like a push lawnmower. Others attach the aerator to a tractor or riding lawnmower.
The lawn care professional will leave those little plugs of grass and soil in the yard where they'll decay in about two weeks, depending on weather conditions. The plugs help break down the thatch layer and feed the soil when they decompose, which is good for your yard's health.
This generally isn't included in a basic lawn aeration service, but it's a common add-on. Aeration stresses your yard temporarily, so fertilizing helps it recover. Lawn pros may use compost to enrich the soil after an aeration service.
A newly aerated yard also absorbs nutrients more efficiently, so you get more lift from the feeding. It's also a good time to add grass seed, a process called overseeding.
Before you hire a professional to aerate your lawn, make sure you:
- Check their qualifications and previous experience: There's no mandated certification for professionals providing lawn aeration services, but you can find companies with technicians certified in lawn care and exterior landscaping by the National Association of Landscape Professionals.
- Get multiple free estimates: Knowing a general range for lawn aeration cost will give you the confidence to hire a pro who's not over- or under-charging. Also be sure to compare lawn service packages.