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How Much Does It Cost To Aerate A Lawn?

Typical Range: $74 - $189

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Lawn aeration is a procedure that requires removing plugs and perforating a lawn with holes in order to loosen it to allow for air and water to penetrate the roots. It puts less stress on the lawn and also allows proper room for nutrients to reach the root system. This technique provides for a much healthier lawn, especially if there is thatching or grass built up. Thatching can overcome the lawn and keep the roots from getting proper nourishment. Another reason for aerating is to avoid the compacting of soil. When soils compact in a lawn, the solid particles prevent water and air from circulating properly.

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National Average
Typical Range
$74 - $189
Low End - High End
$45 - $350

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Cost data is based on actual project costs as reported by 2,305 HomeAdvisor members in .

Other Costs

Lawn aeration is usually combined with fertilizing in order to save on costs and to ensure the procedure is most effective. Combining fertilization and aeration can lower costs by as much as $40 or more.

Lawn aeration costs depend on the size of the lawn. Most averages show lawn aerating to come in at about $175 for the procedure, and owners can spend anywhere from $.10 to $.35 per square foot. If aeration is being done by the homeowner, they can expect to pay rental fees of $65 to $250 per day. Machines can be rented at home improvement stores. In general, most aeration methods are based on either a manual or a motorized aerator. For smaller lawns, a manual aerator works best. Motorized aerators are ideal for large lawns and some riding mowers even feature spike or aerator attachments.

After aerating, the soil plugs should be left in, so that they may decompose properly and break down any lawn thatch. They can be broken up later on by riding over them with a mower or through heavy raking. Immediately after aerating, fertilizer can be applied without the need for soil or manure. This certainly won't harm the lawn, but heavier compacted soil may need some type of compost applied over it to fall into the spiked holes. Also, be sure to water thoroughly after aeration more than once in order to allow water to reach the roots and to penetrate the soil fully.

Reasons to Aerate

Most people aerate their lawns to keep them healthy, strong and full of growth. Aeration is usually done during growth periods such as fall, early spring or in warmer climates that have a late spring. During the cold months of winter, grass lies dormant, and in summer, grass is in full bloom already, so these are not ideal months for aerating. The aeration helps the grass to regenerate after the extreme seasons of summer and winter.

The different tools required in aerating are core aerators and spike aerators. Spikes do just as the name implies, they stab a hole into the soil with a sharp tine attached to a cog that rotates. Most manual aerators use the spike method. It costs less and is easier to maintain as well. Spiking the lawn can be done with a pitchfork, aeration shoes or a roller with spikes.

Core aerators are units that literally take cores of earth completely out of the soil bed. This method has more of a lasting effect and impact on the lawn because of the unique way it removes soil and creates a deeper channel within the earth. This method should definitely be used on bigger lawns that may not be maintained as often. It is considerably more money to use a core aerator.

Aerating Criteria

Those contemplating lawn aeration should consider the following points in order to come to a decision on whether or not to aerate a lawn.

If the lawn has excessive thatch (organic layers of dead shoots and roots that develop between a lawn's surface of soil and the green vegetation area), aerating may be a good option. If thatch is excessive the lawn may dry out easily. This can be tested by going underneath the lawn about 5 inches and checking on the thatch layer. If the layer of thatch is a half inch or more, it is recommended that aeration be taken into consideration.

Lawns with clay soil underneath may require aeration because of the compacted soil. Lawns being fertilized should be aerated first, so the nutrients can be fully absorbed. Many people combine fertilization with aerating in order to save on costs. Lawns that were put through or established during a new home construction may need aeration because the grass may have been compacted by heavy machines or traffic.

How Often Should a Lawn Be Aerated?

Ideally, a lawn should be aerated at least twice per year. The first should be during spring and before summer and then in the fall. Different types of lawns, such as clay or sandy soil, require different aeration techniques.

Advantages of Aerating

Aeration creates a healthier, stronger lawn. It means more breathability for the lawn and increased nutrient saturation. Aerating the lawn will also increase the amount of water the lawn can absorb, which allows you to avoid standing water on your lawn for pests to gather in.

Disadvantages of Aerating

Aeration does allow for the potential for weeds and dryness to get into the holes and lawn. Opening up a lawn during periods of drought, extreme heat and weed infestation should be avoided. Aeration should not be done before roots have developed in a newly grassed area.


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laronda braxton More than 1 year ago
this information was and is very helpful and it just gave me conformation to go ahead full steam with the projects that I have been offered.

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