Gardeners & Volunteers Kick Off Spring Cutback

Photo by Liz Ligon

Did you know that spring cleaning happens on the High Line, too? In keeping with planting designer Piet Oudolf's vision, High Line plants are not trimmed back at the onset of cold weather as they are in most gardens. Instead, when spring arrives High Line gardeners and volunteers work to clear out dried grasses and perennials to make room for new spring growth.

Photo by Liz Ligon

Friends of the High Line gardeners and volunteers kicked off our biggest horticulture undertaking of the year on Monday, March 6. We couldn't do it without the help and support of TD Bank, the park's Presenting Green Sponsor. Over the course of the next month, our hardworking team will shear back more than 110,000 plants to help us prepare for a lush, beautiful growing season.

Photo by Liz Ligon

This week, they've already made significant progress: 60 volunteers contributed 127 volunteer hours and cleared a total of 11 plant beds and 15,000 square feet. Collectively, they filled 38 cubic yard lawn bags with plant debris, which translates to whopping 1,026 cubic feet.

Photo by Liz Ligon

For the second year, the gardeners are taking on the ambitious additional challenge of storing, chipping, and composting all of the plant debris on site to recycle that organic material back into our High Line ecosystem. 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.

Photo by Rowa Lee

Help us spread the word about Spring Cutback by using the hashtag #SpringCutback to share your experience, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.


TD Bank is the Presenting Green Sponsor of the High Line.

REI is a Supporting Sponsor of the High Line Volunteer Program.

The Volunteer Program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Council, under the leadership of Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

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