Excess growth around base of peach tree

Just brought this red leaf weeping peach and I am unsure what the growth on top and around the nebari is. It’s reasonably brittle, unsure if i need to remove or it will add to the character of the tree.

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That doesn’t look like part of the tree to me, maybe some weird substance in the soil that has solidified around the trunk. I’d remove it and expose that nebari