Linking biometric measurements of stand-level biomass growth to tower-based measurements of carbon uptake—gross primary productivity and net ecosystem productivity—has been the focus of numerous ecosystem-level studies aimed to better understand the factors regulating carbon allocation to slow-turnover wood biomass pools. However, few of these studies have investigated the importance of previous year uptake to growth. We tested the relationship between wood biomass increment (WBI) and different temporal periods of carbon uptake from the current and previous years to investigate the potential lagged allocation of fixed carbon to growth among six mature, temperate forests. We found WBI was strongly correlated to carbon uptake across space (i.e., long-term averages at the different sites) but on annual timescales, WBI was much less related to carbon uptake, suggesting a temporal mismatch between C fixation and allocation to biomass. We detected lags in allocation of the previous year’s carbon uptake to WBI at three of the six sites. Sites with higher annual WBI had overall stronger correlations to carbon uptake, with the strongest correlations to carbon uptake from the previous year. Only one site had WBI with strong positive relationships to current year uptake and not the previous year. Forests with low rates of WBI demonstrated weak correlations to carbon uptake from the previous year and stronger relationships to current year climate conditions. Our work shows an important, but not universal, role of lagged allocation of the previous year’s carbon uptake to growth in temperate forests.