Definition of defoliate in English:



  • Remove leaves from (a tree, plant, or area of land), for agricultural purposes or as a military tactic.

    ‘the area was defoliated and napalmed many times’
    • ‘Caterpillars are known to defoliate coneflower plants.’
    • ‘But late blight attacks quickly and is capable of defoliating a field within a matter of weeks.’
    • ‘They are a voracious pest, and, as I can testify from a couple of years ago, can defoliate an entire bush overnight if left to their own devices.’
    • ‘The third step in forcing dormancy is to wait three or four days after spraying and completely defoliate the plant by pulling off the leaves.’
    • ‘At 5 months, plants were partially defoliated or left intact.’
    • ‘They escaped and established a colony that invaded all of the New England states, defoliating trees of many different kinds.’
    • ‘They thrive in hot, dry weather and can defoliate a rose plant very quickly.’
    • ‘A double oscillation is also a possibility, for example if the trees are defoliated by predators and then put out a second growth of leaves.’
    • ‘One thousand caterpillars eating leaves might completely defoliate a tree in two weeks, whereas that same number of aphids would hardly be noted.’
    • ‘I have to admit that it has come to my garden in numbers that will defoliate plants.’
    • ‘Little leaf lindens will certainly be defoliated if Japanese beetles are in the area.’
    • ‘The chemical was sprayed in large quantities from aircraft in a bid to defoliate the landscape and deny cover to enemy forces.’
    • ‘The adults and young feed on saltcedar leaves, repeatedly defoliating the tree and depriving it of nutrients.’
    • ‘Gypsy moth larvae have been defoliating huge areas of forest in New England since they were accidentally introduced in 1869.’
    • ‘Harris noted that defoliated plants could compensate for lost leaf area and increase in mass relative to non-defoliated plants.’
    • ‘In severe cases, blackspot can severely defoliate a plant.’
    • ‘Much of the Vietnamese countryside was defoliated using poisons like Agent Orange, so toxic that even the soldiers who did the spraying suffered long-term damage to their health.’
    • ‘Gypsy moths can attack bur oak; oak lacebug can turn the leaves off-color, causing long-term stress that heavily defoliates bur oaks in shelterbelt plantings, especially during dry weather.’
    • ‘Cereal leaf beetle larvae may defoliate small grain foliage in the spring.’
    • ‘Frosts at any time in the growing season can partially or totally defoliate vines, but they typically remove the outermost leaf layers of a thick canopy.’
    bare, exposed, desolate, stark, arid, desert, denuded, lunar, open, empty, windswept
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Late 18th century: from late Latin defoliat- stripped of leaves from the verb defoliare, from de- (expressing removal) + folium leaf.