I have a Japanese tree peony with eight inch diameter silky white single and double flowers. Are Japanese tree peonies suppose to die back? Mine die back to the ground every year. I thought it was suppose to be a tree. Am I mistaken?
The name, tree peony, is a little misleading. Tree peonies do develop some woody stems but grow more like a shrub than a tree. In cold regions the stems often dieback significantly or to ground level. A little winter protection will help insulate the plant and preserve the woody base. Place a cylinder of hardware cloth around the plants in fall. Sink the bottom few inches of the wire mesh into the soil to keep out hungry rodents and rabbits. Once the ground freezes fill the cylinder with evergreen branches. Remove the mulch and fencing in spring as temperatures begin hovering near freezing. Or continue with your current management. The plant may be a bit smaller but it sounds just as beautiful.