Answer: Pieris will handle full sun all morning just fine so I do not think the location was too sunny for it, especially since it did well for two years. Since it did well for the first two years, there is a chance it was related to either poor rooting, or to something in the soil. Since the false cypress also did poorly but quickly showed signs of trouble, I would look at the planting site and soil. Has something changed since you originally planted there? Is the soil extra wet or dry, is there something unusual such as de-icing salts contacting the soil? Is there a change in drainage patterns such as a leaking rain gutter? Was the original soil preparation the same as for the rhododendrons? Is there a root from a nearby tree invading the area? An underground gas pipe with a tiny leak? It can be difficult to diagnose this type of problem, but with some detective work I think you may find an answer. Your local professional nursery staff may also have some ideas. I hope this helps.
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