Dandelions can be an asset if you're trying to bring pollinating insects to your yard.

Question: Is there any advantage for keeping dandelions? Are there any nutrients they add to the soil? My yard man always wants to get rid of them. They are mainly in the area where I lost some grass due to the drought.  S.H., Burleson

Answer: All weeds are trying to help balance minerals in the soil. All parts of the dandelion are useful. Greens are excellent for salad. Flowers can be used for dandelion wine and flower fritters, and tea can be made from the root. Young leaves, rich in vitamins and minerals, can be cooked like spinach. Roots make a coffee substitute. Buds can be pickled and also used as a coffee substitute.

In addition, many beneficial insects feed off dandelion flowers, including butterflies, bees and hover flies.

Question: I read on your website about topdressing oneÂ’s property. Where can I find molasses, humate, zeolite, green sand, lava sand and compost? We have no grass, just mud. Do we aerate before or after applying the topdressing? D.C., McKinney

Answer: Aerating first would be good to do. You can get the products at Creative by Nature in McKinney or any garden retailer who sells products for organic gardening.

Question: Why are bird feathers a good fertilizer? What is in them that benefits soil? A.H., Fort Worth

Answer: Lots of nutrients: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium as well as many trace minerals.

Question: Is it too late to apply corn gluten meal to control weeds? T.M., Fort Worth

Answer: Corn gluten meal can be used as a fertilizer any time, but to get the pre-emergent effect, it has to be applied before the weed seeds germinate. Some of the summer weeds like crabgrass and grassburs have probably already germinated. Some weeds like roadside aster germinate over a period of time and make the decision about timing even harder.