Dry edible beans are one of the crops most sensitive to compaction, tillage hard pans or poor soil structure. Often plants become stunted because diminished root growth cannot sustain top growth. Swollen hypocotyls (lower stem) may be observed. Restricted or stressed root systems often develop root rot disease.
Options to alleviate compaction or improve soil structure during the growing season are limited to inter-row cultivation. This can loosen and aerate the soil, and throw loose dirt around the base of the plant to encourage new roots to develop. Foliar fertilization is effective for correcting micro-nutrient deficiencies, but plants cannot absorb sufficient nitrogen, phosphorous or potassium through foliar application.