Elevated nutrient deposition often increases primary productivity in terrestrial ecosystems and thus has the potential to increase the flux of carbon © into soils. An important step toward greater understanding of nutrient effects on C storage involves assessing effects on different fractions of the soil C pool across a range of soil types. We quantified the combined effects of 8 years of nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P), potassium (K), and micronutrient fertilization on the C storage in bulk soil and in density fractions at four grassland sites in California. When averaged across sites, fertilization increased soil light fraction C by 64% relative to the control in the 0–10 cm depth. The increase in light fraction C likely resulted from the fertilization-induced increase in plant C input to soil, as aboveground net primary productivity also consistently increased with fertilization across sites. Effects of fertilization on heavy fraction C were highly site specific, having positive, negative, or no effect at individual sites. The response of heavy fraction C to fertilization appeared to be related to mean annual precipitation and soil bulk density. Overall, bulk soil C concentration showed a marginally significant increase of 6% with fertilization when averaged across sites (P = 0.07). Our results indicate that biomass production and soil light fraction are generally sensitive to fertilization across grasslands in California, likely contributing to increases in soil C storage. Responses of heavy fraction C, on the other hand, vary greatly among sites and may depend on climate and soil characteristics.