So… things are not looking good for the crape myrtle. The branch structure continues to curl into itself and is clearly dying back. The question is only whether there is enough root health to produce new sprouts when the tree ceases its dormancy phase — if it ceases its dormancy phase.
The good news is that if it doesn’t, I’ve got a back up plan. Some very helpful squirrel planted a mulberry in my back yard which managed to spring up to nearly six feet in just one Summer and already has a stout trunk and some interesting branch structure.
Before the Spring growth begins I’ll get it trimmed down to a primary trunk and prune back the long growth. If the crape myrtle fails, I’ll get this mulberry potted into my tray before growing season begins and we’ll see how things go with that. It will need some serious wiring to have any interesting shapes, though. Right now it is growing straight up.
Or I could pot it half on a rock to get it to slant over.