If you’ve visited the High Line recently, you’ve probably noticed that the once-tall dried grasses that characterize the park’s winter landscape have been trimmed back to the ground. This annual “haircut” for the park is called Spring Cutback and the tremendous task takes High Line Gardeners and volunteers four weeks to complete.
Not all of the High Line’s plants are trimmed back during Spring Cutback. The park’s woody perennials, shrubs, and trees may be pruned at other times of year, but they are not trimmed back aggressively as the park’s grasses are. One species of grass that does not get cut back at all is Mexican feather grass, Nassella tenuissima. This slow-growing perennial is left intact making it the only dried grass you’ll see on the High Line right now.
This entrancing GIF by High Line Photographer Steven Severinghaus captures the beauty of Mexican feather grass at this time of year. The dense bunches of dried thread-like blades look almost like hair as they wave in even the slightest breeze. In the background, it’s possible to see the trimmed-back stumps of other varieties of grass. Soon Mexican feather grass – and its wild grass brethren at the High Line – will transition to shades of vivid spring green.
Learn about more plants of interest by viewing our monthly bloom lists.