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Hello All,

I recently bought a house and I've inherited a few plants that I have no idea what they are. I'm sure I will be on this site quite a bit over the next year or so as I try to sort out the garden. It was quite neglected and some things have outgrown their spot. For example, there is a rather large buddleia and an unidentified conifer plant right directly in front of a security flood light. All night, every night, every time the wind blows these things move and the front of my property and half the road lights up so bright I'm sure they can see it from space!

Can I move the buddleia now? I'd hate to loose it as it is rather nice. I have no idea what type it is, but when I moved in it had purple flowers that were just fading and it's kept it's green leaves so far this winter. It is currently taller than 2m. I've attached photos of the conifer type plant that I would like help identifying please.  It is taller than 2m and it is not 'soft' to touch, but rather sharp or spikey. The outside looks green/grey and healthy, but the inside is all brown and looks dead. Any ideas what it is, if it's possible to move it and if so, can I move it now? 

I should say that I took these photos and then later realised that the tree had been tied up with string. I cut the string (which had been tied all through the plant, presumably to keep it more narrow?) and now the tree has become 'wider'. At this point the light was fading and I couldn't get another photo today, but I can take another one tomorrow if that would help to identify this? I was a bit concerned that someone had tied the tree up and now I'm wondering just how tall and wide this tree is going to get!  

Thank you for your help!


Buddleia shrubs and the conifer can be moved if your soil conditions are not too wet and frozened. But best to wait for spring time. The three photos of the conifer looks like a juniper to me. Possibly Juniperus Communis Hibernica. 

Your coniferous subject is one of the upright blue Junipers ; one of maybe J.pyramidalis , 'Wichita Blue' , 'Moonglow' , Monrovia Blue','Blue Point' , to name a few ; an expert on these trees would be able to ID positively .

It is quite normal for the inner stems of Junipers to turn brown , and they can be CAREFULLY trimmed albeit lightly .

You could try moving the Buddleia , but @2m+ high it could pose a problem ; will have a substantial root system by now .

I'll bet your neighbours love the security light (!)



I think Borderline is correct in the ID ; all of these (far too many) blue cultivars probably originated from one species in the first place . (They're all b****y sharp) !!

If you do move the Buddleia , I would prune drastically first .

Thank you all! I appreciate your very helpful responses!!

I had no idea that was a juniper! It's planted about a foot away from my house, and I'm wondering how difficult it's going to be to dig out as it appears to have been there for a while. I will most definitely need a thick pair of gloves before attempting that because it is sharp! I made the mistake of grabbing a branch today to get a better photo... Ouch!! 

I think I will definitely need to prune the buddleia before attempting to move it. Someone apparently bought a small potted buddleia, put the pot next to the juniper and left it. Over time the plant has grown through the pot (which is now all broken up around the base) and there are several large stems coming up (which I imagine means a huge root system!!). 

Both of these plants are in a sort of raised, brick and concrete bed, so I wonder just how difficult these roots are going to be to dig out if they've gone under the bricks or something (I'm not sure how this bed was constructed). 

I wish I could wait until Spring, but with the rather bright flood light going off quite frequently I'm sure my new neighbours would appreciate me moving these sooner rather than later!  

Thank you so much again for your help!!



Looking at the siting of the Juniper and the proximity of the raised wall , you may be better off cutting your losses and getting rid . Both are readily available should you require replacements .

Conifers don't always move well , and at that size its survival would be doubtful

It is really easy to take cuttings from your buddleia and much easier to move them! In Spring just as growth is starting cut lengths about 12 to 18 inches from young healthy branches. Trim just below a leaf joint at the bottom and just above at the top and push it firmly into the soil in an out of the way spot. Leave about 6 to 9 inches sticking out. Do a few and let them be until you see strong growth, then you can plant them where you want them.

Papi Jo

Hi Pretty Pink Flowers,

I do not understand how those "security flood lights" work. What is their purpose? What makes them go on/off?

I strongly advise to completely remove those obnoxious two trees of yours. I'm always amazed how people can be so careless as to plant trees so close to buildings.

In my garden there is a 20m tall Caucasian fir whose trunk is about 1 meter from a nearby small block of flats. However I do not feel concerned, as that building was erected when the fir-tree was already 15 m high:

Unfortunately, I think you might be right and I need to cut my losses with them both. I hate to cut them down, but I don't think I'll be able to move them. I've taken photos this morning of the buddleia growing through it's pot. I don't think it was ever 'planted' as such. I will try to take a few cuttings off that and see what happens. 

I'm not exactly sure how the security system here is set up. It's quite old to be honest and needs replacing, it's on my (ever growing) to do list! There is a rather large flood light sitting on the wall directly behind these two (over sized) plants. When someone walks up my garden path towards my front door/window the plants are blocking the sensor, so the light doesn't always trigger. However, when the plants move, the light goes off and half the street lights up as the light actually sits just above the top of the plants, but the sensor is pointing downward towards the footpath. I will most definitely be replacing that light, but until I get to that job I would like to keep it for now as there have been a string of burglaries in the area and it would be nice if the light went off when a person walks up towards my house. I currently have no other outside light, so the floodlight will have to do for now.

I guess the best way to remove these two plants would be to saw them off at their bottoms? Then there will just be the stumps to sort out. I'm rather sad to loose these two, but they shall be replaced (in a more suitable location) with the same or something similar. 


Plenty of nice cutting material on that buddleia!

Worth trying some of those new shoots in some gritty compost somewhere warm and light (but not too sunny) and see what happens. They don't usually take long to root. Buddleias are best cut down every year to a  low level  to encourage lots of flowering shoots, so you could do that and then leave it until your cuttings have taken before actually digging it up.

That's a great idea, thank you! I think I shall try that. I've read that buddleias are actually quite resilient, so perhaps after cutting it down today there is still a small chance it could be dug out and moved in the spring. At least I'll have the cuttings if nothing else! 


Removing the stumps may be difficult ; cut them as low as possible to the ground and maybe drill and poison them so they rot away quietly !

Good luck and don't work too hard !!

Papi Jo

Careful! Poison the stumps = poison the soil.

Another method is to physically chop the Buddleia stump to pieces rather than poison *. The Juniper , along with most conifers , lacks epicormic buds and cannot regenerate from the base . This will fade away in time .

* Break as much off as you can manage ; it will certainly 'slow it down a bit' ;

Well, that was hard work! My arms will certainly be sore tomorrow from all the sawing and clearing up today! 

I cut them both as low to the ground as I could, but they both have a sizable stump left about 6 inches from the ground. After the hard work today, I love the idea of them now quietly going away (poison!) but it would probably be best for me to try another method. It is such an awkward spot with the stumps right next to the raised part of the beds. I'll try to have another go at it tomorrow and try to actually chop up the stumps themselves. 

Has anyone tried the burning method? I was reading about it online tonight. 


I should say, the wind is absolutely howling outside tonight and my light hasn't gone off once! I hope my new neighbours are appreciating the darkness! 


Pleased you got your job done !

We havn't got the strong winds here yet (E.Lincs) ; work as a professional gardener outdoors throughout the year . Sounds like a rough one tomorrow !


Well done....I didn't realise your Buddleias were that mature. Considering I had casually advised you to move them! I think you made the right decision. It's never easy to remove something mature, but as Paul B3 states, they are quite available. Do a search for stump grinder with Gardeners' World, and there are plenty of previous posts with useful advice on this forum with others that have gone through the same thing. Not sure about burning so close to your porperty though.

Thank you Paul B3 and good luck today! It's still pretty gusty here and I had a bit of wind damage overnight. Looks like it should settle by this afternoon though.

Thank you Borderline! The more I looked at it, I realised I could never dig it out. It's been left there, forgotten, for quite a while and I can't even pull off the pot that's around it, so hopefully I can get that out when I start chopping up the stumps. I'll have a look at stump grinders today and some of the other posts. I took about 50 or so cuttings off that buddleia. I haven't done that before and no idea if I've done it correctly, but hopefully at least 1 or 2 will 'take' and I'll have a new plant. From what I've been reading, buddleias are pretty resilient so hopefully they propagate well!

I bought a Thuja Occidentalis 'Smaragd' to replace the juniper (in another location further away from the house) and now I'm looking at buddleias. So much choice!!  

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