Grassland communities dominated by Festuca scabrella or by Stipa curtiseta and Agropyron dasystachyum were burned experimentally in spring or autumn. Forb, shrub and graminoid biomasses were greater in the unburned Festuca community than in the Stipa-Agropyron type. Spring and autumn burning delayed early season growth of graminoids in both grassland types in the 1st growing season after fire. Peak green biomass was reached later in the season in burned plots relative to reference areas. Plant growth in the spring of the 2nd yr after fire was more rapid in burned plots and peak biomass was reached earlier than in the reference plots. Autumn burning reduced forb biomass significantly early in the growing season during 1 of 3 yr that this parameter was measured. No effect of burning on shrub biomass was detected. Autumn and spring burning of Festuca grassland reduced peak, green, graminoid biomass production in the 1st and 2nd yr after fire; autumn burning had the most negative effect. Reductions in graminoid biomass after burning Stipa-Agropyron stands were smaller than in the Festuca community. Nitrogen concentrations in F. scabrella shoots regrown after fire were higher than those from the reference areas. Soil water content during the growing season, and snow trapping were reduced by burning. Peak green biomass and total graminoid biomass in Festuca grassland recovered to the level of the reference plots 2-3 yr after burning. Recovery was slower in the Stipa-Agropyron community. © American Midland Naturalist. Abstract reproduced by permission.