I had somebody remove some oak tree roots from the ground one month ago. Now a couple of branches look dried. Others have no new leaves growing and the old leaves are dropping. This is in Houston, Texas. What should I do to save this tree? Thanks!
I had a large (massive) Elm tree that had all the roots on one side cut about 6 feet from the tree due to an idiot plumber running a sewer pipe. This was a deep trench, too.
I used an in-ground water injector to pump root stimulator into the soil all around the tree base. I went around with a hose and penetrated the ground around the tree about 20 feet apart in concentric rings about 10 feet apart around the whole tree. I would inject just the water for about 30 minutes then pour the root stimulator into the hose and then turn the water back on for 30 minutes. I did this over a 1 week period working around the tree. Don't do too much too fast or you will saturate the ground and the tree could fall over.
Despite this happening during summer in Atlanta, 10 years later the tree is still huge—roots are growing like crazy. A water injector is a pipe you can get at garden store. It's a pipe about 3 feet long, and you screw the hose in the top. There is a valve that lets air in the line as the water runs to help oxygenate the soil. I would push this in and then as the hard soil loosened I would push it all the way in.
I hope you are able to save it.
It may not be possible to save the tree - if you're lucky, some parts will survive, and when you see where the dead areas are, you could have those removed. Cutting out roots like that means you've effectively interfered with the tree's means of survival - you can remove branches at the right time without ill effect, but removing roots, particularly if they are large, is much more serious. There is nothing you can do - only time will tell.
Oak trees along with cotton wood are good at enduring dug up roots as long as they are not punctured heavily (deep cuts). As long as the roots are covered by soil and there's a constant supply of water then the tree should heal its wounds. Other than that there's not much you can do to save the tree.