The objectives of this study were to describe and quantify Aleppo pine aerial primary growth processes and to assess their relationships with climate. Primary growth (branch length growth, branching rate, polycyclism, needle number and size, fruiting), i.e. crown development and reproduction, was reconstructed for the last 16 years in Mediterranean France. From 1998 to 2007, climate has been far hotter and drier than normal in South-eastern France. All variables related to crown development and fruiting, as well as radial growth, significantly declined after 2003 heat wave and during repeated droughts from 2004 to 2007. A partial recovery of most parameters occurred from 2008 to 2010 on vigorous branches while frail branches showed less improvement. The limited crown development during unfavourable years may significantly hold back tree potential photosynthetic biomass for several following years and contribute to a slower than expected recovery of tree growth or to delayed die-back.