shovel prune
(SHUV.ul proon) v. To dig up a garden plant and discard it. Also: shovel-prune.

Example Citation:
Hill and McBride adore roses — each count about 25 bushes in their yards. But Hill emphasizes they are not fanatics. "If they need to be shovel pruned [gardening lingo for given the heave-ho], I'll do it," she said. "I'm not going to be upset about losing a $12 rose bush when it's past its prime."
—Janis D. Froeloch, "Gardening Neighbors Keep Running For Roses," The Tampa Tribune, April 18, 2002

Earliest Citation:
Now, when the earth is soft and the weather is cool, is a good time of the year to consider rejuvenating and enlightening that precious garden space. Shovel-prune those misfits and replant with trees or shrubbery that are more in scale with the size of the garden and house, creating a more pleasant and productive homescape.
—Joyce Smith, "Get rid of plants that don't belong in their garden spots," The Orange County Register, March 4, 1989

This phrase is a play on the verb "prune" (from the mid-16th century) which means to cut off superfluous branches from a plant to promote fuller growth.

Related Words: