Volunteer Opportunity: Help Us with Spring Cutback

We need your help cutting back the High Line's plants to make way for new spring growth. Photos by Friends of the High Line

With snow flurries transforming our city into a winter wonderland, it’s hard to imagine that spring is right around the corner.

But the first signs of the new growing season have already arrived at the High Line. Fluffy catkins are popping out on the pussy willows. New green shoots for early spring bulbs are emerging in the planting beds. Buds are forming on the dormant shrubs.


Join us to usher in the new season. Sign up for High Line Spring Cutback – our biggest horticultural initiative of the year.

It’s a great opportunity to get outside, have fun, and learn, all while working side-by-side with High Line Gardeners and hundreds of neighbors and friends to trim back the park’s plants to make way for new green growth.

Follow us after the jump to learn more and sign-up.

Volunteers play a critical role during High Line Spring Cutback. In keeping with planting designer Piet Oudolf’s vision for year-round texture and color in the High Line’s landscape, the park’s plants are not trimmed back at the onset of cold weather. Instead, wild grasses, plant stalks, and dried seed heads define the winter landscape.

Now that spring has arrived, the plants must be trimmed back to make way for new growth.

It’s a monumental task. With one-mile of parkland, and more than 100,000 perennials and grasses to trim back, we couldn’t do it without your help.


During Spring Cutback you will:

  • Join an enthusiastic and dedicated team of volunteers
  • Work side-by-side with High Line Gardeners to sheer back grasses and perennials by hand, using pruners, and scissors
  • Get to know the ins and outs of the High Line’s landscape
  • Watch new green shoots and spring bulbs emerge as you trim tufts of wild grasses and overwintered perennials
  • Help us prepare for a lush, beautiful growing season ahead

How to become a volunteer:

  • Fill out a Volunteer Application and bring it to a training session, offered on Tuesday, February 19, Thursday, February 21, or Friday, February 22, from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM.
  • Sign up for at least two shifts between Monday, March 4 and Wednesday, March 27. Shifts are available on Mondays and Wednesdays, from 8:00 – 10:30 AM and 12:00 – 2:00 PM.

Please email Karla Osorio-Perez, Friends of the High Line’s Volunteer Coordinator, at karla.osorio-perez@thehighline.org.


The High Line's unique design, with gravel mulch and railroad tracks running through the planting beds, make it impossible to use power equipment to cut back the plants. It’s for this reason that Spring Cutback is an all-hands-on-deck scenario, requiring the hard work and dedication of many volunteers over the course of four weeks.

We hope you’ll join us!

REI is a Supporting Partner of the High Line Volunteer Program. High Line Spring Cutback is supported by Bloomberg, Google, REI, and Toyota.

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