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.
The High Line’s plants are not trimmed back at the onset of cold weather as is typical in most public gardens. Instead, the High Line’s layers of wild grasses, skeletal plant stalks, and dried seed heads define the park’s winter landscape, evoking the self-seeded plants that grew up between the rail tracks on the High Line when the trains stopped running in the 1980s.
Now that spring is on its way, the High Line Gardeners must work quickly to cut back the park’s plants to make room for new growth.
The process is called High Line Spring Cutback  and it has become one of our favorite annual traditions.
This morning we gathered on the High Line under The Standard, New York to launch the effort. Friends of the High Line Co-Founders Joshua David and Robert Hammond; Melissa Fisher, Friends of the High Line’s Chief Operating Officer; High Line Gardeners; volunteers; supporters; and local teens from NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies took part in a ceremonial cutting back of the first plants to prepare for spring.
With the recent opening of the High Line’s new section, this year marks the High Line’s first spring season with one mile of parkland and 100,000 grasses, perennials, and shrubs to cut back for spring. The work will be completed by hand, since using power equipment to trim the plants is not feasible due to the narrow width of the High Line. We couldn’t do it alone, so we’ve recruited more than 300 volunteers  to help us complete the task, which will take an estimated 1,500 man hours this year.
We’d like to thank the following supporters of High Line Spring Cutback for helping to make this initiative a success: Bloomberg , Google , HR&A Advisors , REI , Toyota , and UNIQLO .
When you visit the High Line in the coming weeks, we encourage you to say hello to the gardeners and volunteers, and to thank them for their hard work. Thanks to their dedication and support, we are able to prepare for the season and the millions of people who will enjoy the High Line this year.