That’s a Wrap: Spring Cutback Is Complete!

We did it! Despite the unseasonably cold weather, two snowstorms, several days of rain, and yesterday's hail shower, we completed this year's High Line Spring Cutback in record time. These horticulture enthusiasts from REI were among the 80 volunteers who helped get the job done. Photo by Liz Ligon

We have just completed the fourth and final 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 prepare for the new growing season. This horticultural effort, called High Line Spring Cutback, takes place throughout the entire month of March.

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

Spring Cutback is our biggest horticultural task of the year. It involves trimming back more than 100,000 plants along the mile-long park to make way for fresh green growth.

To help us get the job done, we invite students, neighbors, and friends to join our team of High Line Volunteers. Over the course of the month, they spent more than 550 hours trimming back the dried grasses, raking the planting beds, and cleaning up the landscape. The volunteers’ hard work and dedication helped us complete Spring Cutback in record time; despite the unseasonably cold weather, two snowstorms, several days of rain, and yesterday's hail shower, this year’s effort lasted just four weeks, compared to six weeks last year.

We are grateful to the volunteers for helping us complete this important spring initiative, and we would like to extend a special thank-you to our corporate partners, Google, HR&A, REI, and Toyota, for their generous support of Spring Cutback.

Below are some of our favorite photos from this past week.

Smile, you’re at the High Line! These teens are part of the High Line Green Corps, an education and job training program by Friends of the High Line for local teens who live near the park. Photo by Beverly Israely
One of the ten teens participating in this year’s High Line Green Corps. Since January, the teens have been working with High Line Gardeners and High Line Educators to learn about the High Line’s horticultural and sustainable operations. Photo by Joan Garvin
The High Line Green Corps with High Line Educator Jordan and High Line Gardener Maryanne. The teens had this week off from school, and so they spent an alternative spring break at the High Line, helping us complete Spring Cutback. Photo by Joan Garvin
On Tuesday, volunteers from REI joined High Line Gardeners to trim back plants. High Line Gardeners Kevin and Orrin demonstrate proper cutback techniques. Photo by Liz Ligon
No lawn mowers allowed! Due to space constraints and the High Line’s unique planting design, all of the park’s plants must be cut back by hand. The clumps of wild grasses are so big that it takes two people to trim them back in an efficient way. Photo by Beverly Israely
As you trim back the dried grasses, you see fresh green growth emerging at the plant’s base. Photo by Joan Garvin
As you cut back each tuft of grass, you’re treated with new spring blooms, like the these purple crocus. Stop by soon to catch the early spring blooms. Photo by Beverly Israely
Hands-on learning in action. An REI volunteer lets a young park visitor try a hand at raking. Once the plants are trimmed back, our staff and volunteers tidy the beds by raking dried plant clippings and debris. Photo by Liz Ligon
It takes a community. This year 80 volunteers contributed a total of 550 hours to help us complete Spring Cutback in record time. Pictured here are volunteers from REI, one of our corporate partners, working with High Line Gardener Kyla to clear the dried plant clippings in the Meadow Walk. Photo by Liz Ligon
High Line Gardener Maeve trims back tall grasses near West 25th Street. Photo by Liz Ligon
Hard-working volunteers from REI on Tuesday. With more than 100,000 plants on the High Line, Spring Cutback produces a large amount of dried plant material. Some of the plant clippings are composted on site at the High Line, but the majority of the dried material is brought to Fresh Kills Sanitation Facility on Staten Island, where it is turned into compost for gardens around New York City. Photo by Liz Ligon
High Line Horticulture Foreman Johnny shares a laugh with REI volunteers. After being rained out two weeks in a row, the REI group was treated to a beautiful day on Tuesday. Photo by Liz Ligon
Members of the High Line Green Corps clearing the planting beds near West 19th Street. Photo by Photo by Beverly Israely
A view of the REI volunteers in action. Photo by Liz Ligon
High Line Gardener Kevin and a volunteer team up to tackle large tuft of dried grass. Photo by Liz Ligon
In the coming weeks, the High Line will fill with new green growth and spring blooms. Stay tuned to the High Line Blog for more photos and updates on the spring landscape. Photo by Photo by Beverly Israely
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