It was the middle of a long wet winter and we got an order for a High Weed Mower rental for delivery to a home. The blade was like new and the machine was running great. At delivery time, I gave my operational and safety instructions to the customer then began to demonstrate it to him. I drove it 4 feet out onto his yard and it bogged down and stalled out. What!? I had never seen it do that before. Yes, the grass was very wet, but it was not tall at all. Initially, upon looking at it, I was wondering why the customer needed a High Weed Mower in the first place. Well, something was strange.
I leaned over and grabbed the grass then immediately knew what the problem was. The grass was so overgrown that, at some point, it laid over and began growing sideways inside it's own tangles. There were some blades of grass that had grown straight up through the tangled of grass and weeds. That gave the illusion of healthy grass even. If felt like a sponge when I stepped on the grass. Wow! I had only seen this once before when a customer rented an de-thatcher/power rake to, well, rake the heck out of his yard in an attempt to make the grass stand up long enough to cut it and then use an Overseeder rental on it.
Fortunately, in this case, the customer just wanted to trim the top of the grass and attempt to make things look level. It turns out that the mower blade dug too far down into the overlapping weave of grass and weeds and could not cut through it. We simple raised the mowing deck from 2" to 4" and tried again. Everything worked great from there on out, however, for the longterm health of this yard, a de-thatcher/power rake will be needed in order to straighten all that grass out for further mowing.
Once the grass is straightened out, one can see that there is a great distance between each grass shoot, that the shoots are thick and strong (more like weeds) and that they have turned into something that does not resemble grass at all. With some love and time, even these lawns can be restored, but a lesson must be learned. Yards need mowing. Once grass and weeds lay over flat, the yard is doomed.