Everything You Need to Know About Lawn Aeration

by Team eLocal
Tines from Ride On Aerator that Aerate the Grass for Lawn Care Services

Lawn Aeration Costs at a Glance

  • Manual core aerator: $25-$30 (CAD 30-CAD 37)
  • Mower attachment: $200 (CAD 250)
  • Rent mechanical aerator: $60 (CAD 75), half day; $90 (CAD 115), full day
  • Grass seed: $50-$100 (CAD 60-CAD 125)
  • Aeration service cost per square foot: 5 cents (CAD 0.06)
  • Aeration service cost per hour: $15-$32 (CAD 20-CAD 40)
  • Aeration service total average cost: $545 (CAD 680)
  • Aeration and overseeding total average cost: $800 (CAD 1,000)

A thick, lush lawn is an attractive backyard feature. However, walking or allowing kids to play on the grass can take its toll on your lawn's appearance. Heavy use compacts the soil beneath the grass, reducing airflow and causing patchy growth. Aerating your lawn can restore it to looking its beautiful best.

Here’s everything you need to know about lawn aeration — including how to do it yourself and how much it might cost to have someone do it for you.

Vector Lawn grass care service, gardening of lawns and landscape design services.

What Does It Mean to Aerate Your Lawn?

Aerating a lawn involves removing small plugs from your lawn with an aerator tool to create air holes. These holes allow air to permeate the soil to boost your lawn's oxygen supply, improving its health and appearance. You also remove large amounts of thatch when you aerate a lawn. Thatch is the organic matter that accumulates between your lawn and the soil, and too much thatch can increase the risk of lawn disease and reduce nutrient and water movement.

Aerating a lawn also breaks up large clumps of compacted soil. This can improve your lawn's water drainage, preventing large puddles from accumulating on the grass when it rains.

What's Overseeding?

Overseeding is planting new grass seeds on top of your existing lawn to fill bare patches and make it look thick and lush. Aerating your lawn before reseeding helps create the best possible conditions for new grass to flourish because it encourages improved water, oxygen and nutrient flow. It's also significantly easier to aerate a lawn and reseed it when it's looking lackluster than digging it up and starting from scratch.

What Time of Year Should You Aerate Your Lawn?

It's best to aerate and overseed your lawn during peak grass-growing season because the climate allows your lawn to recover quickly and new shoots to grow well. What time of year you should reseed and aerate a lawn depends on your grass variety.

You likely have cool-season grass if you live in the northern U.S., which means your lawn grows best in cool weather. Therefore, you should aim to aerate and reseed during the early spring or fall. Southern lawns usually have warm-season grass. Late spring to early summer is the best time to aerate and reseed warm-seed varieties.

How Often Should You Aerate?

It's best to aerate and reseed your lawn annually if you walk on your lawn a lot, or if the grass is growing on heavy clay soil. Otherwise, you can aerate your lawn whenever it starts to look patchy or lackluster.

Can You Aerate a Lawn Yourself?

You can aerate a lawn yourself, but you'll need a mechanical aerator to help you out. Generally, it's best to use a core aerator that removes small plugs of soil and thatch from your lawn. Aerators with spikes are less effective because they create holes without removing material, which could compact the soil beneath your lawn and further reduce airflow.

You can buy your own core aerator from a DIY store, and there are plenty of affordable models available. However, it's worth considering renting equipment instead. Core aerators are large, heavy machines, so you'll need enough room to store one if you buy your own. Hiring an aerator also helps you access the most up-to-date models. Lawn aerators can be difficult to transport, so check that your chosen company provides delivery and pickup services.

Gardener Operating Soil Aeration Machine on Grass Lawn

How Much Does It Cost to Have Your Lawn Aerated?

It's generally cheaper to aerate a lawn yourself, and it's a simple enough DIY task for gardening novices. However, you can book soil aeration services from a professional lawn care company if you prefer.

DIY Lawn Aeration Costs

DIY lawn aeration is usually cheaper than hiring professionals because you won't need to pay for labor. However, you'll need to purchase or rent a core aerator. You can purchase a manual core aerator that you push around your lawn for between $25 and $30 (CAD 30 and CAD 37). However, store-bought manual aerators are less suitable for large areas because they can only remove a few plugs at once, making them hard work to use. You can purchase an aerating lawn mower attachment for around $200 (CAD 250) if you need to aerate a large lawn.

Alternatively, you can rent a mechanical core aerator for around $60 (CAD 75) for a 4-hour slot, or $90 (CAD 115) for the day. Most rental companies take a deposit, which you'll get back if you return the aerator on time and in good condition. You may also need to arrange transportation if your rental company doesn't offer delivery and pickup services.

Don't forget to factor in the cost of grass seed if you intend to overseed your lawn after aerating it. Grass seed to cover an average-sized lawn usually costs between $50 and $100 (CAD 60 and CAD 125).

Professional Lawn Aeration Costs

Hiring a professional core aeration service costs around 5 cents (CAD 0.06) per square foot on average, according to Fixr. Therefore, you should expect to pay around $545 (CAD 680) for an average-sized, 10,900-square-foot lawn. This price rises to around $800 (CAD 1,000) if you want your lawn overseeded at the same time.

However, some lawn care companies charge a flat rate per hour between roughly $15 and $32 (CAD 20 and CAD 40). Therefore, the total fee depends on how big your lawn is and the difficulty of the job.

All CAD conversions are based on the exchange rate on the date of publication.

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