Forest red gum produces a reliable timber suited to a wide range of uses. The timber is highly durable with an extremely high density. It displays a tight interlocking grain alongside its lush red colour, making it excellent for applications where appearance and durability are important.
As the name suggests, forest red gum is a medium to tall forest tree. Trees of this species grow to a height of 20 to 50 metres, with a girth of up to two metres. The trunk is straight and is usually unbranched for more than half the total height of the tree, with limbs that are more steeply inclined than other eucalypt species. The bark is shed in irregular sheets, resulting in a smooth trunk surface, coloured in patches of white, grey and blue. Rough dark grey to black dead bark is retained at the base of the stem.
A versatile timber, forest red gum can be used in wharf and bridge construction, railway sleepers, cross-arms and mining timbers. It is suitable for all building members including posts and poles, framing, flooring, lining, decking and cladding. It is suitable for both indoor and outdoor furniture. As well as sawn and round applications, forest red gum is suitable for the manufacture of structural plywood.
Eucalyptus tereticornis, the most commercially important of the two sub-species, spreads from coastal south-eastern Victoria to southern Papua New Guinea. E. blakelyi subsp. blakelyi is found from northern Victoria through New South Wales and into southern Queensland. Timber appearance and properties are identical for both species. E. tereticornis sapwood is not susceptible to lyctid borer attack, unlike E. blakelyi. This species is not susceptible to termites.