Should I prune a rose bush that appears completely dead?
I received a rose bush that was bare root, no soil, and kept in in a plastic bag with water and moist towels around the roots. While the leaves all turned brown before I had the opportunity to get in in the ground, the roots never dried out. It has been planted for about 2 months now, and I have not seen any new growth to the browned out stalks/leaves. Is it hopeless or will it come back if it is pruned or do I need to wait till spring?
It sounds like the top part of the rose has died. Likely it will not come back now. I would look for a new rosebush you would like to plant and buy it when you can get it right into the ground. You could try pruning the current rosebush down to about 3 inch long canes. Plant the rosebush in a pot about the size of a 5 gallon bucket. Water it in with some water that has a product called Super Thrive and a good root stimulator of choice in the water too. Water the bush with this mix the next 4 to 5 times it needs watering. If the rosebush does not respond with some new growth in a month. Then it likely will not. Check out this article on grafted roses too: https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/ornamental/flowers/roses/own-root-roses-grafted-roses.htm