Abstract Three levels of soil compaction were evaluated with respect to their effects on soil properties and maize yield in a loamy sandy soil, at Nsukka, Nigeria for two cropping seasons, 1984 and 1985. The compaction levels: heavy, medium and no compaction, were provided by different numbers of tractor passes using two factors of different weights. Four tillage methods, namely conventional, shallow, deep and no tillage, were subsequently evaluated with respect to their effectiveness in alleviating the soil compaction. Results show that soil moisture content and porosity decreased with increase in soil compaction while bulk density and soil resistant to penetrometer pressure increased. Maize emergence increased with increase in soil compaction but the highest yield was obtained under medium compaction. An optimum bulk density of 1.2 Mg m −3 was obtained. In terms of reducing soil strength and improving yield when the soil was compacted, conventional tillage performed best. This was followed by shallow, deep and no tillage. Thus deep tillage may not be of any special benefits when a loamy sandy soil is compacted.