One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1An adult or larval insect which strips all the leaves from a tree or shrub.
- ‘These lepidopteran defoliators are among the most destructive insect pests of important crops like corn and cabbage and other vegetables.’
- ‘The caterpillars of the gypsy moth are destructive defoliators that feed primarily on oak trees causing growth loss, crown dieback, and tree mortality.’
- ‘The spruce budworm is a major insect defoliator of forests in northeastern North America, with balsam fir and white spruce figuring as the most vulnerable species.’
- ‘Insecticides kill insect defoliators and vectors of deadly human diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, plague, and typhus.’
2A machine that removes the leaves from a root crop.
- ‘Another invention at Hughs's lab, a two-row prototype thermal defoliator, offers hot air as an alternative to chemicals for removing cotton leaves before harvest.’
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