May have damaged Maple tree during drive way construction

Help!!!
I built my dream home on a rocky hillside in upstate NY.
While excavating for the driveway I may have damaged my Maple tree.
The maple is about 30 years old and is perched on a rock outcropping.
It roots are sprawling in every direction for all to see before they descend beneath the soil. It was necessary for the drive way to cut in about 12 feet from the base of the tree.
In doing so, I remember encountering, and severing one root that was about 3 inches in diameter. Looking back I'm afraid it might have been the tap root for the tree. There isn't much soil beneath the tree itself. The tree literally sits atop a rock. The soil was deepest where I cut the driveway.
I wish I had the foresight to preserve any all encountered roots.
Long story short I retained the excavated area with a laid up dry retaining wall and have watched the tree grow frailer with each passing season.
That was three years ago. What might I do to save this handsome tree?
Feeding? Watering?
If anyone has advice I would appreciate some.
I'm concerned that one more year and I will have to remove the tree.
Thanks, Dante
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Probably more damaging was compaction of the remaining roots... this slow decline (rather than a dramatic sudden death) is usually indicative of soil compaction. If you stored construction material, or drove over the rootzone, or mechanically compacted the soil around the tree, then you crushed the tilth and oxygen out of the area. To be blunt, there is nothing you can do.
Dave

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I had a similar problem of roots cut in excavating near a linden tree which started to fail over a period of years. I had the tree pruned severely and after that it recovered beautifully. I have no idea if this would help in your situation but it might be worth trying.
Good luck,
Norman
On Wed, 03 Dec 2003 15:32:38 GMT, "David J Bockman"

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On 3 Dec 2003 05:28:50 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@frontiernet.net (Dante) wrote:

becomes established). You don't say how big this tree is (standard is to measure diameter of trunk 4 feet above grade), but it does not sound like an excessive amount of root loss.
Trees build stores of reserved energy in the form of sugars and starches during the good times. When they face injury or stress, they can seem fine for a time because they are using these reserves. As stored NRG runs out, you see decline as much as 5 years later. That does not mean your tree will continue to decline, but there is a chance it will.
I agree that compaction of remaining roots may have been a factor here (as may have been grade changes during construction) but I don't agree the situation is hopeless. Vertical mulching or radial trenching are agressive measures that can inprove soil structure. Slower but also effective is simply adding mulch to the root zone. Pile on up to 4" of wood chips, compost, bark, or other organic material. Be careful not to pile soil or mulch against the trunk--the first major root flares should be visible at the surface. Make sure to supplement water during droughty periods and do NOT severely prune the tree to compensate for lost roots--that adds insult to injury [well, injury to injury). Whatever leaf producing branches you can maintain will help the tree to replenish depleted NRG reserves and recover.
Check out the site in my sig below for more info about treatment of trees damaged by construction.
Good luck, Keith For more info about the International Society of Arboriculture, please visit http://www.isa-arbor.com/home.asp . For consumer info about tree care, visit http://www.treesaregood.com /
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