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[dahy-bak] /ˈdaɪˌbæk/
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dieback
  • 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.
  • Symptoms include flagging and dieback of individual branches, which may be killed back to the ground.
  • Symptoms include browning of needles and tip and branch dieback.
  • dieback of major limbs usually occurs within two years and progresses from the bottom of the tree upwards.
  • Symptoms appear as a yellowing of leaves and a progressive, general decline and dieback of branches and limbs.
  • These fungi cause stem dieback on many woody ornamental and fruit plants.
  • dieback of the shoots and cordon is believed to be due to acetylenic phenol metabolites produced by the fungus.
British Dictionary definitions for dieback


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
any similar condition of herbaceous plants
(intransitive, adverb) (of plants) to suffer from dieback
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Encyclopedia Article for dieback

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.

Learn more about dieback with a free trial on
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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