The received wisdom seems to be to wait and see whether new green shoots begin to emerge before pruning back dead branches. Maybe wait as late as the end of May for some plants.
We have two bay trees, a young mimosa, a large ceanothus and rosemary on the rockery, a great oleander bush on the bank up to what one day will be the front door, all with burnt, brittle leaves and dead looking stems. And my pride and joy - the phormiums, with their bronze spikes that form such a feature in the borders in front of the veranda - have completely collapsed, their centres a mushy mess.
We've already cut back the tops of the yuccas at the end of the swimming pool. Looking like something out of Where the Wild Things Are their rotten mop heads would never have recovered. I've left their long trunks, at least we can grown some annual climbers up them until (hopefully) new growth starts from the bottom again.
And there is hope. Buried in the dead stems of a hydrangea that I thought we'd lost bright green leaves are emerging; and nestled right at the base of a very sick looking berberis I was weeding yesterday, I found two tiny pale new shoots.
The Phormium in Happier Times
Hydrangea new shoots