This study investigates vegetation responses to climate changes by analyzing 19 years (1982–2000) of both climatic data and growing season Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for vertically distributed desert, steppe, forest and meadow, in the middle part of the northern slope of Tianshan Mountains. Vegetation activity exhibited greening trend in all biomes, owing mainly to reduction of water stress caused by increasing precipitation, although warming trend negated that effect because of temperature-induced drought. Precipitation acted as a remarkable driving force of plant growth in each biome through the whole growing season (spring, summer, autumn), its effect could always persist into the next season, however, the sensitivity decreased across biomes with increasing precipitation. Warming-induced snow melt played a positive role in boosting plant growth during spring in steppe, forest and meadow. Except that, warming produced negative effects.