I have several brugs in large pots, they seem to do much better than in the ground with our sandy soil here in NW FL. But some of them are getting too tall. I'd like to bring them in this winter. If I prune them way back, even below the level of the first leaves, will they come back ok from the original trunk or will they start over from ground level?
Yes, you can prune your Brugs down to a few inches above soil level. Given the proper winter care, they will send out new shoots from the ground or from the trunk stub next spring. I'm in Zone 8b too and winter my Brugs in a greenhouse. Because winter temperatures don't stay below 45ºF, they don't go dormant, but continue to grow at a much slower rate.
Have they bloomed yet? If they have, then you would be cutting off the flowering growth. Brugs have two types of growth: vegetative and flowering. A shoot springing from below ground or from below the original "Y" must go through the entire vegetative growth cycle before it produces a "Y" and starts the flowering cycle. Vegetative growth height varies according to cultivar and can vary from a few feet to over 12. With some cultivars it may take over a year to reach flowering size again. If you have the room, think about leaving at least one main trunk with its original "Y" and 2 or 3 more layers of "Y". That way your Brugs will have blooms earlier next year.
Yes, I knew that about the Y, thanks for reminding me. I don't know why I didn't think about that when I thought about pruning. I can still take quite a bit off and stay above the Y. Yes, they are blooming now and beautiful. One has 13 blooms the other about 16.