GEM Premier White Shavings are a mix of approximately 80% kiln-dried (kd) Western Hemlock and 20% kd Douglas Fir. And no, the Western Hemlock tree is not related to the poisonous hemlock plant! The Western Hemlock is a coniferous softwood (evergreen) tree that is a predominant species in the forests of western Washington, Oregon and British Columbia. Western Hemlock is the preferred softwood for making high quality paper in the Northwest, and it also makes a superior bedding material. What makes Western Hemlock so good for bedding is that it contains no phenols. Phenols are what we think of as “pitch” or resin. The absence of phenols provides three very important benefits. The shavings will absorb more fluids than other woods. The shavings are essentially a hypoallergenic bedding material. The shavings will break down into compost approximately five times faster than pine or other wood shavings. Thus, soiled western hemlock shavings make an excellent soil amendment material.
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