What Does Purple Paint on Trees and Fences Really Mean?

| by Mark Jones
A no trespassing sign keeps visitors off of a farm.A no trespassing sign keeps visitors off of a farm.

Residents of Texas and other states are learning to stay away from fences, posts and trees marked by purple paint. In many areas of the U.S., purple paint on wooden markers can signify a "No Trespassing" zone.

Texas has allowed property owners to use the purple paint method to keep unwanted visitors off their land because posters and other signs tend to blow away in the area's strong winds, according to an article posted on Go Tumble.  

Many property owners in Texas own large plots of land and it can take long time for the owner to realize a sign is missing. Even after realizing a sign is gone, finding the sign can be nearly impossible in large fields.

Fencing off large areas of land is expensive and not always practical.

Texas has determined that allowing purple spray paint to serve as a “No Trespassing” sign is an economical and practical solution.

Texas is not the only place where purple paint warns people to stay off a piece of property. The law has its roots in Arkansas, where it has been in effect since 1987.

Illinois, Missouri and North Carolina are also listed as states abiding by the purple paint law on’s “State By State Guide to No Trespassing Laws & Signage.”

Texas’ purple paint laws are more detailed than those in other states. According to the state by state guide, the purple paint marks must be vertical lines that are at least 8 inches long and 1 inch wide. Additionally, the bottom of the mark must rest somewhere between 3 and 5 feet above the ground.

When placed on forested land, the markers cannot be more than 100 feet from each other. On other types of land, the limit extends to 1,000 feet.

Finally, all marks must be visible to those approaching the land.

The color used is known as “No Hunting Purple.”

If a landowner follows all of these rules, an individual may be charged for walking past one of the purple markers onto private property.

Those ignoring the signs will likely be charged with a misdemeanor for trespassing.

Sources: Go Tumble, / Photo credit: lucianvenutian/Flickr

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