Dwarf myrtle topiary - can I prune dead stems now?

bibbus 7b
August 30, 2015

These dwarf myrtles started as tiny topiaries about a foot tall. They
are now about 10 years old and one of them dried out over the summer. It
has always been less hardy and full than the other one. About 5 years
ago I severely pruned them in early winter, removing all the green and
cutting back to about 6-8 inches from the main stem. Only stubs
remained. I knew I was taking a gamble and was expecting them to die. I
put them in a cool dark room for the winter and in the spring there was
new growth on them. They came back and recovered fully and a year ago
were huge. I'm not sure I should try that a second time. Does anyone
have any experience with the tiny leaf myrtle and can give me advice?
I'm pretty sure the brown stems will not leaf out again as they never
have as long as I've had them. Can I prune them by 2/3 now in zone 7b
and leave them outside while the weather is warm?

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