Spring Cutback: Week Three

This week High Line Gardeners and volunteers trimmed back the bog plants and grasses that grow along the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck, making way for new green growth. Photo by Oliver Rich

We have just completed the third week of High Line Spring Cutback!

The High Line’s plants are not trimmed back at the onset of cold weather in the fall. Instead the landscape is left intact to provide structure, beauty, and habitat throughout the winter. As spring arrives, Friends of the High Line staff and volunteers work together to cut back the plants to make way for new green growth. This horticultural effort, called High Line Spring Cutback, takes place throughout the entire month of March.

See more photos from our third week of Spring Cutback after the jump.

On Monday, High Line staff and volunteers tackled the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck. This section of the High Line, between West 14th and West 15th Streets, contains a mix of grasses, trees, and bog plants. Photo by Oliver Rich
It was a chilly day, but 27 volunteers joined us, contributing 96 hours of work. (Left) High Line staff and volunteers at work on the western side of the High Line at West 14th Street. (Right) Volunteers Judith and Marian were in good spirits despite the cold weather. Photos by Oliver Rich
Lilliput sculpture Carson watches over work at West 14th Street. Stop by to see Lilliput installations soon. The group exhibition will be taken down by April 1. Photo by Oliver Rich
More smiling faces from Monday’s Spring Cutback session. (Left) Volunteer Melanie and High Line Gardener Mark trim back grasses along the High Line’s rail tracks. (Right) Volunteer Andre works in the bog section of the Diller – von Furstenberg Sundeck trimming horsetails, Equisetum hyemale. Photos by Oliver Rich
As High Line staff and volunteers cut back the horsetails, green growth was already visible. Soon the plants will bounce back with tall green stalks. Photo by Oliver Rich
Two High Line volunteers work next to one of our gardeners favorite spring blooms, Dawn bodnant viburnum. Photo by Oliver Rich
The fluffy seeds of cattails, Typha laxmannii, take flight as the plants are trimmed back. (Right) High Line Gardener Maeve shows a coat sleeve covered in seeds. Photos by Oliver Rich
More volunteers in action. (Left) High Line volunteer Tara. (Right) A High Line Gardener gets a hand closing a filled lawn bag by High Line volunteer Miriam. Photos by Oliver Rich
At the end of the session, all the plant material is taken to the Southern Spur for storage, and all the tools are put away. This week, High Line Gardeners and volunteers filled more than 50 lawn bags, for a total of 25 cubic yards of trimmed plant material. Staff make several trips a week to take the plant material to the Department of Sanitation’s Fresh Kills Composting Facility. Photos by Oliver Rich
A group shot of the Monday morning session. Thank you all for your help this week! Photo by Oliver Rich
On Wednesday, High Line administrative staff joined our gardeners for an all-staff Spring Cutback session. The group worked between West 18th and West 20th Streets, clearing dried grasses along the park’s iconic rail tracks.
High Line staff were also joined by a unique volunteer, Charlotte (right), who traveled from all the way across the pond to help with the Spring Cutback effort this week.
After plant material has been trimmed back, staff rake and sweep the planting beds to tidy them.
Along this stretch of the High Line, trimming back the grasses has made room for new growth like these young shoots of foxtail lily, Eremurus stenophyllus.
High Line staff members Jen and AV take a moment to smile for the camera. It was a cold and windy day, but our administrative staff were thrilled to get outside and work side-by-side with the gardeners.
High Line staff members Cecilia and Jordan team up to remove large bunches of dried grass.
Looking north along the High Line from a neighboring building, the trimmed back section just north of West 20th Street contrasts with the thick dried grasses on either side. Photo by Annik La Farge
As Spring Cutback progresses, more and more spring growth is emerging. Stop by in the coming weeks to see crocuses, pictured here, sedges, white squill, and violets. Download our March Bloom List.
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