March marks the start of our annual Spring Cutback, when gardeners and volunteers clear out dried grasses and perennials to make room for new spring growth. This year, we're proud to be composting 100% of our plant material—which allows us to avoid wasting fuel on transportation, while also generating healthy food for our plants and soil organisms.
Recycling plant debris into our plant beds as mulch, compost, and compost tea enables last year's growth to foster the health of our gardens this year. This process will mimic the natural decomposition of plant life—and subsequent nutrient uptake by new plants—that would take place in a wild landscape.
During this busy Spring Cutback season, you may notice that we're leaving some plants and leaf litter in-place. We made this change because more than 20 species of wild bees make their homes on the High Line—and some species are so tiny that they spend winter inside plant stems no wider than coffee stirrers! Spiders, ladybugs, lacewings, and others live here, too, and help our gardens by eating harmful pests. By keeping dead plant material around, we're protecting the homes of these precious pollinators and pest-eaters.
We officially kicked off Spring Cutback, our biggest horticulture undertaking of the year, on Monday, March 5. During the first week, High Line gardeners and volunteers worked together to clear 34.5 cubic yards (931.5 cubic feet) of debris throughout eight plant beds.
TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.
The High Line Volunteer Program is supported, in part, by REI.
The Volunteer Program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Council.