Help with Skin Modifier

Thought it more a rigging question so posting here instead…

I have created a basic tree branch using the skin modifier which allows me to add soft-body dynamics to the branch and because its working on the base edges mesh it has a very fast response.

The problem is i want to be able to texture the branch but of course any uv’ing will be done on the base mesh.

Any ideas as to how i can get the uvs without applying the skin modifier…as doing that will give me some serious lag through the soft body dynamics.

i tried to use a mesh deform modifier. with a duplicate mesh. Didnt work.
Generating uvs gave me some sorta uv layout but as soon as the mesh deforms the textures start ‘swimming’.

Here’s a sample of what the rig is doing: