Several types of roses in Central and Southern (confirmed by Joe Boggs) were knocked back pretty good by cold winter weather. While trimming my shrub and carpet-type roses in early April I noticed quite a bit of dead wood. I had to really trim them back to a height of about six inches. They are looking great right now as the new growth is vigorous. I completely lost one climbing rose and another one was killed back to the crown. The new growth on this one is coming from the root stock.
When cutting back roses in the spring the recommendation is to remove all dead wood on the canes back to just above a healthy leaf bud (below). I have found that many of the newer varieties of shrub and carpet roses tend to be pretty forgiving and tolerate a fairly tight haircut in the early part of the season. The key, however, is to remove the dead wood, at least back to new green growth.
I have seen, however, many of these roses looking a little unusual due to lack of sufficient pruning. It appears that landscape maintenance crews got out early in the season and pruned the canes without removing all of the dead wood. The result is a lot of nice new growth at the base of the plants and a lot of dead wood showing on top. Eventually the new growth will cover up the old but this makes for a raggedy looking plant right now. The dead wood can be trimmed out but it's much easier if this is done before the new growth covers it.
What did you see on roses in your area? I don't have any more hybrid teas, grandiflora or floribunda and I don't see them in commercial landscape plantings so I am curious as to how these fared. Drop me an email and let me know what you are seeing. We'll share this in a future BYGL post.