die back

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die back

Of plants, to die in a manner that retreats inward, leaving only the stems or roots. My plants died back after that period of unseasonably cold weather.
See also: back, die
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

die back

[for vegetation] to die back to the stems or roots. The hedge died back in the winter but regenerated leaves in the spring. This kind of grass dies back every year.
See also: back, die
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

die back

v.
To be affected by the gradual dying of plant shoots, starting at the tips and working back, as a result of weather conditions, natural growth cycle, or disease: Aerate the soil weekly when the flowers bloom and until they die back.
See also: back, die
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs. Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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References in periodicals archive ?
Cut down marginal plants as their foliage dies back for the winter.
The reduction of the lake bed serves to expose the pondweed which in turn dies back."
The oil will last you through the winter when plantain dies back. This oil also comes in handy when mosquitoes make a meal of your arms and legs; dozens of poultices are probably more than anyone would care to make!
Poison ivy can be a year 'round threat in many areas and even in places where poison ivy dies back after hard frosts, it can persist throughout the fall and emerge again in very early spring.