Q: What can I put down under a backyard tree where my dog runs. It’s a mud pit now.
A: It’s terribly hard to get plants to grow in shade when they are under constant assault by a dog running around. I think large pine chips would make the most sense for you. You’ll have to spread fresh ones regularly because the dog will mash them into the ground wherever they are applied. If you buy a few extra bags and store them in an unused backyard corner, that’s not such a terrible job. Pea gravel could also work. Look for bagged gravel having an average size around 1/2 inch in diameter.