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Purple Paint - Texas No Trespassing Marking

posted Jan 26, 2012, 12:22 PM by Greg Jewett   [ updated Mar 1, 2017, 9:54 AM ]
updated by Greg Jewett with information from Terri R. Coolong, District Forester, Maine Forest Service
I grew up with purple paint being a common item to let others know of your property lines and trespassing. Texas put this into law back in 1997, so is nothing new, but apparently new to people that don't own land. I've attached a photo of both a sign about the law and the purple paint. Usually you will not see the sign, just the paint. There are rules about how high this paint is to be on the tree or fence, how wide it is and how tall.

Texas Law (Penal Code)

The Texas Law is HB 793, under Texas Penal Code 30.05, Criminal
Trespass, section 1, subsection D.

The law requires the following regarding the use of purple paint:

  1. Markings must be:
    1. vertical
    2. at least 8 inches long
    3. at least 1 inch wide
    4. bottom of the mark should be between 3-5 feet above the ground.
  2. Markings can be no more than 100 feet apart in timberland
  3. Markings can be no more than 1,000 feet apart on open land,
  4. They must be in a place visible by those approaching the property.
Trespassing is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, unless the intruder is
carrying a firearm, which is a Class A misdemeanor.

Click here for more details and the full text of the Texas Law.
Of course, not all land owners apply the paint the same. I run across the purple paint all over Texas, both on pine trees in the east and on fence posts in Central and west.

Purple was chosen due to the fact that even people who are color blind will see it, only will see it as being darker and more visible, which is a good thing.

Also, for those that travel, where there are at least five states that also use purple that are more than 10 that use orange or lime green.
If you have articles or websites that describe the requirement of marking property lines with paint, please let us know and we will update this article.  Send submissions to

Posting Requirements

Many states require the property owner to post a notice to stay off the property.