Volunteer Opportunity: High Line Green-Up Spring Cutback

We need your help cutting back the High Line's plants to make way for new spring growth. Submit your volunteer application by Monday, February 13. Photo (upper right) by Joan Garvin. Other photos by Friends of the High Line.

The first signs of spring are already popping up along the High Line. To make way for new growth, we are now turning our attention to the biggest horticultural undertaking of the year: High Line Green-Up Spring Cutback.

Beginning in March, the High Line Gardeners will be working quickly to sheer back the grasses and perennials by hand, using pruners, scissors, and the help of volunteers and staff.

Spring Cutback is a monumental task – one that took us 1,200 hours to complete last year. This year, we have twice as much work to do. The High Line doubled in length when the new section opened last June, giving us one mile of parkland with more than 100,000 plants to prepare for spring this year.

We can’t do it without the help of volunteers like you. We hope you will join us!

Get outside, have fun, and learn – all while volunteering side-by-side with our gardeners during Spring Cutback. We’re trimming back overwintered plant material and we can’t do it without your help.

We require volunteers to attend an orientation session, and work at least three shifts between Monday, March 5 and Friday, April 13. Volunteer shifts are available Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:00 -11:00 AM and 12:00 - 2:00 PM. High Line Green-Up Spring Cutback orientation sessions will take place between 10:00 AM and 12:00 PM on Monday, February 13, Wednesday, February 15, and Saturday, February 18.

Watch a video and see photos from last year's event.


RSVP to kyla.dippong@thehighline.org by Monday, February 13.

In keeping with planting designer Piet Oudolf’s appreciation for a landscape’s inherent multi-season interest, High Line plants are not trimmed back at the onset of cold weather as is typical in most gardens. Instead, the textured grasses, skeletal plant stalks, and dried seed heads define the High Line’s winter landscape. Now that spring has arrived, the plants must be trimmed back to make way for new growth. Even before Spring Cutback is finished, you’ll see spring bulbs, like crocus and daffodils, popping up in the planting beds.


The High Line's unique design, with gravel mulch and railroad tracks running through the planting beds, make it impossible to use power equipment to cut back the plants. It’s for this reason that Spring Cutback is an all-hands-on-deck scenario, requiring the hard work and dedication of many volunteers over the course of six weeks.

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