How Does Mulch Protect Tree Peony If It Should Not Touch The Trunk

Question From: Sterling Heights, Michigan, United States
Q: Your peony column, 24 October, det news, states to use 3-4 inches mulch for tree peony but keep it from touching the trunk. Does that mean to make a 3-4 inch hill of sorts around the plant but have a hole in the center for the trunk? How does this protect the plant? Thank you so much.

A: Louise, The trunk is hardy and does not need protection. The mulch layer protects the roots so they do not suffer from freeze and thaw when there is no snow to protect the soil. Best And Happy Yardening, Nancy

Comment: Ok thank you so much!!!! I always thought of mulch as protecting the plant. Like we protect our roses etc where the mulch may actually cover the plant or touch it at least.