Spring Cutback Volunteer Orientation Re-Cap

High Line Gardener John Gunderson advises Spring Cutback volunteers on the proper technique for cutting back the grasses during a volunteer orientation session on February 15.

In just a few days, we will begin what has become one of our favorite traditions since the High Line opened as a public park. Spring Cutback – it’s a six-week operation that involves hundreds of hours of hard work to trim back the park’s 100,000 plants to make way for the new growing season.

Spring Cutback is the biggest horticultural undertaking of the year – one that took us more than 1,200 hours to complete last year. With the recent opening of the new section of the High Line, this will be the first spring where we have one mile of parkland to prepare for spring. We can’t do it alone, so we have recruited more than 300 members, supporters, neighbors, and friends from our community to help us complete this monumental task.

The volunteers recently completed their orientation session, where they were introduced to the unique challenges of maintaining a park in the sky. Follow us after the jump for a recap.

To get started, volunteers joined us at Hudson Guild, our local community center, for their orientation sessions. The volunteers will be working side-by-side with High Line Gardeners during March and April.

Working on the High Line, an elevated garden with narrow pathways, shallow planting beds, and public interaction means that even avid home gardeners have a thing or two to learn to prepare themselves. With this in mind, High Line Gardeners led orientation sessions that offered general information on the High Line and the history of Spring Cutback, and answers to key visitor questions.


Then, heading outdoors, our gardeners demonstrated how to safely work with our tools before unleashing volunteers to try a hand at trimming back plant material with our shears and pruners. Working together, as seen in these photos, volunteers in our February 15 orientation session cleared the planting bed at West 17th Street. Right away, the green shoots of emerging spring bulbs could be seen.

Thanks again to all the volunteers that are helping us with Spring Cutback!

Recent Posts
Plant of the Week: Sea Lavender
view post
Open Encounter: A Conversation with Brendan Fernandes
view post