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Kate Lindquist
High Line Gardeners are busily working to cut back more than 100,000 plants by hand to prepare for new spring growth on the High Line. The process, called High Line Spring Cutback, began this week.

This week we begin High Line Spring Cutback – our biggest horticultural task of the year.

Visit the High Line over the next six weeks, and you’ll see High Line Gardeners busily working with teams of volunteers to cut back the High Line’s wild grasses, perennials, and shrubs to make way for new spring growth. With each cut they make, you will start to see new green shoots and early spring bulbs emerge.

This morning we invited volunteers, supporters, and local teens from the NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies to take part in a ceremonial cutting to mark the launch. Follow us after the jump to learn more and view photos.

Erika Harvey
Jet Trail flowering quince is known for its abundant white blooms that cover the shrub in early spring. Photo by High Line Volunteer Lebasi Lashley.

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that took root on the elevated rail tracks after the trains stopped running. The High Line includes more than 300 species of perennials, grasses, shrubs, and trees — chosen for their hardiness, adaptability, diversity, and seasonal variation in color and texture. Some of the species that originally grew on the High Line’s rail bed are reflected in the park landscape today.

This week we share with you one of our Gardeners’ current favorites.

Erika Harvey
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.