It has been widely advocated that smoke-water application to topsoil can substantially improve restoration success by enhancing seed germination. This is despite few studies having tested the effects of smoke-water on seedling emergence in field-scale restoration trials. Here we report the effects of applying a commercially available smoke solution (Regen 2000®), at rates between 0 and 100mLm-2, on jarrah forest sites being restored after bauxite mining in the southwest of Western Australia. Smoke solutions stimulated the seed germination of a range of species in laboratory experiments. In addition, smoke-water stimulated germination of Stylidium affine seeds sown directly into the first field experiment. However, apart from the effect on sown S. affine seeds, smoke-water application had no effect on subsequent seedling numbers, species richness or the relative proportion of seedlings in different growth-form categories in either of the two field experiments. These findings suggest that smoke-water application does not always ensure enhanced restoration outcomes. © 2013 South African Association of Botanists.