Fire every two to five years is a valuable tool for managing southern pines for many outcomes from restoration of the native ground-layer in longleaf pine ecosystems to the generation of wildlife habitat in mixed pine forests. Unexplained growth losses after fire are an accepted cost of multiple-use management on public land. Private landowners, however, are less willing to shoulder this cost. Long-term research on the Palustris Experimental Forest in Louisiana, revealed physiological mechanisms that sustain growth after severe crown scorch in spring. In partnership with Louisiana Tech University and Kisatchie National Forest, Forest Service researchers validated these adaptations to fire and assessed their effectiveness under spring and fall burning scenarios. Sapling longleaf pine experienced accelerated photosynthesis and rapid foliage regrowth after either spring or fall burning. However, amounts of stored carbohydrate in the stem, terminal branch, and taproot differed by fire season. Although spring burning led to normal starch accumulation, fall burning diminished starch storage. This suggests the carbon demanding processes in fall-burned saplings are highly dependent on current photosynthate, and tree growth may suffer in the subsequent year after fall burning when conditions such as drought reduce photosynthesis.