© Virginia Hamrick | Thinkstock

As a local landscaping company, lawn care operator, tree care service or the like, here's an announcement that you need to be aware of.

The popular customer review website Angie's List has waived their $40 annual membership fee and is now free to homeowners. Consumers will be able to surf the site for reviews of local companies and leave reviews.

This change was originally hinted at in early March and scheduled for Q3. Now here we are.

Angie's List has struggled against free consumer review sites like Yelp, so this move was a no-brainer.

This commentary from Search Engine Land sums up the impact this change could have on local landscape and lawn care companies:

Less than 1 percent of the US population were members (of Angie's List), which meant the vast majority of people couldn’t see the rating or reviews posted on a company profile. Unlike Yelp, businesses could get by with bad Angie’s List scores and negative reviews because a lot of people couldn’t see them. Now, everyone can.

If you have negative reviews on Angie's List that you've failed to address, well, now those will be visible to all consumers using the site.

Of course, the opposite is true regarding all of your glowing customer reviews.

You can read the official news release from Angie's List posted on Lawnandlandscape.com

Look outside the box

WASHINGTON, D.C. and COLUMBUS, Ohio – Boxwood blight was first identified in the U.S. in the fall of 2011 and has since been detected in at least 22 states across the U.S. in both nursery and landscape settings. Two closely related fungi, Calonectria pseudonaviculata and C. henricotiae, cause boxwood blight on three plants: boxwood (Buxus), Pachysandra, and sweet box (Sarcococca).

© Mary Ann Hansen, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Bugwood.org

Since 2012, boxwood blight research has been supported through the Horticulture Title of the Farm Bill, Section 10007. In fiscal year 2016, this funding exceeded $486,000 and supports research collaborations among IR-4, the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, Cornell University, Hood College, Oregon State University, North Carolina State University, Virginia Tech and USDA-ARS.

For the full story by AmericanHort and its research affiliate, the Horticultural Research Institute, head to bit.ly/ArboristPractices.

Experience with mosquito work

Rob Braden, service manager at Tomlinson Bomberger Lawn Care, Landscape & Pest Control in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, talks to sister publication Pest Control Technology magazine's managing editor Brad Harbison about lessons learned since the firm started offering mosquito control three years ago.

Head over to bit.ly/MosquitoExperience to have a listen.