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The first mowing generally will remove almost all of the old brown leaves revealing a nice green lawn below. Though none of us want to do it, it's better to start mowing your lawn too early than too late. Set the mower at the highest or second highest mowing height (I'd leave it there all year), put on a sharp blade, all clippings should always be bagged and if You want to mulch, you should only mulch 1 in 4 mowing’s.
Drought stress makes lawns extremely susceptible to cosmetic damage from mowers, spreaders, and human traffic (photos). Drought stress may not have been easily visible before mowing. Turf likely was at the drought stressed stage where footprints (or mower tracks) remain in the turf and don't snap back like well-watered turf, or may have been entering the stage where it turns a bluish-gray color. Severity of the damage depends on the stage of drought stress and weight of the mower (zero-turn radius mowers and ride-on spreaders that are now so popular are much heavier than the walk-behind models). With rain or irrigation, the turf in these tracks should grow back in a couple of weeks.
Typical advice in the paper and TV is to raise the mowing height during drought to help the turf area stay green. However, this is very simplified advice which needs clarification. Here are some well-researched facts:
The higher you mow a grass plant, the deeper the roots.
Deeper roots mean a larger reservoir from which to draw water.
Almost all cool-season turf grass grow most of their roots in April-May and October-November.
Therefore, simply setting your mower up a notch or two now is not going to magically force your roots deeper because they are not growing now. Actually you will force more water stress on the plant because it will have to support more leaf material with the same amount of roots. This is a very bad decision and should not be done on non-irrigated or droughty sites. Conversely, if ample water is available throughout the summer, raising the mowing height slightly will increase the photosynthetic area of the turfgrass plant, thus allowing it to produce more energy to better survive the hot conditions. So raising the mowing height on an irrigated turf is not a bad idea. My most common advice is to mow the turf areas as high as can be tolerated for your given situation, and stick with that height all season-long.