I had to checkout a very large repository which included branches, tags and trunk in a subfolder of the project. So checking out the basedir gets all branches and tags which makes SVN very slow. So I was looking for a way to exclude folder from checkout. The following statement makes SVN ignore and delete folders locally but lets them untouched on the server.
svn update --set-depth=exclude <foldername>
After this the folder with name <foldername> is deleted and wont be updated anymore. This is NOT the same as the svn:ignore property!