noun Plant Pathology.
a condition in a plant in which the branches or shoots die from the tip inward, caused by any of several bacteria, fungi, or viruses or by certain environmental conditions.

1885–90, Americanism; die1 + back2

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World English Dictionary
dieback (ˈdaɪˌbæk)
1.  a disease of trees and shrubs characterized by death of the young shoots, which spreads to the larger branches: caused by injury to the roots or attack by bacteria or fungi
2.  any similar condition of herbaceous plants
3.  (intr, adverb) (of plants) to suffer from dieback

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Encyclopedia Britannica


common symptom or name of disease, especially of woody plants, characterized by progressive death of twigs, branches, shoots, or roots, starting at the tips. Staghead is a slow dieback of the upper branches of a tree; the dead, leafless limbs superficially resemble a stag's head. Dieback and staghead are caused by many fungi and a few bacteria that produce cankers, anthracnose, wilts, and stem or root rots. Nematodes, stem- or root-boring insects, mechanical damage, paving over roots, winter injury from cold or deicing salts, and a deficiency or excess of moisture or an essential element may cause dieback, directly or indirectly.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
One of them is that avoided deforestation may not be permanent-especially where
  there is a risk of climate-induced forest dieback.
Scientists call it sudden wetland dieback, but they are not sure how it started
  and what they can do to end it.
New leaves may appear scorched or a mottled green and yellow, with or without
  burnt tips accompanied by dieback of branches.
Tips of branches affected by this problem turn brown or ash-gray and often show
  progressive dieback.
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