The impacts of autumn or spring burning on Symphoricarpos occidentalis were studied in Fescue Prairie in central Saskatchewan. Symphoricarpos density increased two- to three-fold over preburn density in the 1st 2 growing seasons following a burn. Individual shoot weights were approximately one-third those of plants in reference (un-burned) sites. Leaves that were approximately two to three times larger, combined with increased stem densities, enabled plants in burned stands to re-establish a leaf area equal to reference sites within 2 mo of growth in the 1st growing season. Total standing crop of S. occidentalis was reduced only for the early part of the 1st growing season following burning. In the 1st growing season following burning, xylem water potentials and stomatal conductance of burned plants equalled or exceeded those of reference sites. A delayed effect of burning was expressed in the 2nd growing season, with soil moisture, xylem water potentials and turgor potentials being lower in burned plants than in the reference. Flexibility in resource allocation, with a larger proportion of biomass in leaves, and unaffected or improved water status are adaptive features that enable S. occidentalis to regain its position in the plant community the 1st growing season following disturbance by burning. One-time burning in autumn or spring should not reduce the dominance of S. occidentalis in this region. © American Midland Naturalist. Abstract reproduced by permission.