WORTHINGTON — These guys don’t let any grass grow under their feet.
And if you happen to hire one of them, your property is bound to be enhanced.
In their off- and free time, two City of Worthington employees — Scott Rosenberg and Quinn Kolpin — apply their considerable skill sets, industriousness and knowledge bases to businesses that contribute to the area’s arboreal and landscape beauty.
Respectively, they operate Kolpin Landscaping and Rosenberg TreeScapes.
A few years ago, Quinn Kolpin began taking on small-scale landscaping projects.
“I’ve done various things,” he said of jobs he has tackled.
“I’ve had people who just wanted help putting in three plants and others who asked, ‘Hey, I have this area torn up on my lawn; could you level it and put down some grass seed? I want everything gone and redone,’” noted Kolpin.
“And new builds are really fun,” he added. “They’re a blank canvas and you can implement whatever vision you and the owners have for the space.”
Last summer, Kolpin’s biggest project was closer to home, so to speak; he managed a major landscaping re-do at the home of his parents, Robin and Kandy Kolpin, in Spirit Lake, Iowa.
“They live on a hill and have a walkout basement, so I knew it would be a challenge with the transition from the front to the back of the house,” said Kolpin.
The senior Kolpins had recently completed a major remodel of their 1960s-era house, and the resulting work obliterated their existing landscaping.
Ultimately, Kolpin installed six retaining walls using unique 70-pound blocks his parents favored.
“On my dad’s off-days, he would pick up a pallet [50 blocks per pallet],” said Kolpin.
“We went through 10 pallets of blocks, so about 500 70-pound blocks were installed by hand.
“It was a lot of heavy lifting.”
Aided by a tractor with a loader feature, Kolpin moved four blocks at a time before leveling and stacking them.
“There was a lot of manual labor and heavy lifting involved, but I achieved the effect they were shooting for,” said Kolpin, noting the project still awaits installation of plants this spring.
“And I had to work around some mature oak trees in the back — we didn’t want to damage them. I’m always trying to picture the finished product, and I like to think I have a pretty good eye for it.
“They’re very happy with the outcome.”
Although Kolpin’s availability is limited to evenings and weekends, and he is typically a one-man operation, he relishes the chance to help others improve their yards.
“It’s really gratifying work, and I enjoy the creative aspect of it,” said Kolpin.
“I like the installation process the most, and seeing projects through to completion — and I actually enjoy the manual labor.”
Find Kolpin Landscaping on Facebook.
Although Scott Rosenberg’s knowledge of trees is considerable — dating to his undergraduate studies (he earned a degree in park management with an emphasis in arboriculture at South Dakota State University) and continuing through his quarter-century of employment with the City of Worthington, including years as the city’s forester — it was the horrific April 2013 ice storms that propelled him to take it a step further.
“I was doing so much trimming and tree removal, and dealing with broken branches, that spring,” said Rosenberg.
“So I just kept going with it.”
He established Rosenberg TreeScapes that year and has kept busy ever since.
“It’s been a gradual process,” said Rosenberg, who added stump removal to his business in 2020. “For the most part, it’s all tree-related.”
In the midst of COVID-19 media coverage, Rosenberg highlights another destructive pest that’s had less recent attention: the Emerald ash borer (EAB).
“EAB is in Worthington,” Rosenberg confirms.
“Although we haven’t been hearing as much about it in the news, it has not gone away; it’s still here, and if you want to keep your ash trees healthy, you’re going to have to treat them.
“It’s just a matter of how long it might take before EAB gets them — and, as with COVID-19 vaccinations and people, the more trees that are treated, the more bugs will die and that will slow the spread of EAB.”
Rosenberg offers free consultations and quotes by appointment and, as a longtime Worthington resident, he has a vested interest in doing the job right.
“I try to educate prospective customers about what’s going on with their trees,” said Rosenberg.
“Sometimes, a property owner calls because they want a tree trimmed, but when I see it and can tell it’s rotten, it may need to come down altogether.”
Rosenberg is also aware that some tree services from outside the area have not served customers well.
“One person paid for their elm tree to be treated by another company [from elsewhere] — but when I was asked to take a look at it, I could see it was already rotten and that injection was a waste,” he said.
His short but firm message?
“If you have an ash tree in the Worthington area, get it treated [against EAB],” advised Rosenberg.
“Don’t wait until your tree is starting to die because you can’t fix what’s already dead,” he continued.
“If you have a healthy tree and want to keep it that way, treat it.”
With a wealth of arboreal knowledge, Rosenberg has an abundance of information and advice at the ready.
“Pruning younger trees is a good practice because you’re training them for their growth habit as they mature,” he said.
“Cutting off smaller rather than larger branches avoids opening up the tree for decay later on and allows you to shape it as you want.
“You need to remove crossing limbs and branches with bad unions — and anything planted too close to a home or other structure needs to be trimmed,” he added.
“I wish I’d get more calls on trimming 5-year-old trees because it’s a lot easier and less expensive to deal with or prevent problems at that stage than when you have an 18-inch limb hanging over a roof.”
Rosenberg also has tips on the growth rate of certain trees (“Some maples will grow pretty quick, and oak trees grow more slowly but people want those for other reasons,” he said), tree defects, trimming practices, spacing and the importance of species variety.
“Planting numerous kinds of trees is good because if a bug or disease comes along, like EAB, you won’t have to treat or lose all of your trees,” said Rosenberg.
Rosenberg stands ready to help area property owners with their tree needs and appreciates the value of trees.
“The reality is, when you plant a tree, you’re taking the long view,” said Rosenberg.
“What you do with your trees and plant today is going to have a greater benefit for the next generation than it might necessarily have for you.”
To view Scott Rosenberg’s services and contact information, visit www.rosenbergtreescapes.com.