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If You See Purple Paint, Keep Out

Have you heard of the purple paint law? I reported about this law when it was first enacted, but thought it might be time for a reminder. In case you missed it, Indiana passed a law in 2018 that gives landowners one more tool to use to communicate the message, “No Trespassing.” A Purdue University expert helped explain the law.

Lenny D. Farlee, Sustaining Hardwood Extension Specialist, reported in Purdue’s “Got Nature?” Blog that a new Indiana law went into effect July 1, 2018 that may help landowners mark their property boundaries more efficiently to prevent trespassing. “The ‘purple paint law’ is found in Indiana Code, IC 35-43-2-2, and stipulates that appropriately applied purple paint can be used to mark your property with the same legal effect as using a No Trespassing sign,” said Farlee. “Landowners attempting to protect their property from trespassing have often been frustrated by the need to post signs and replace signs torn down, vandalized, or rendered unreadable by the elements.” He said that marking boundaries with purple paint should provide a more efficient and inexpensive option, as well as eliminating placing nails in your trees.

Under the law (subsection c), a person may be denied private property entry by means of:

  • personal communication, oral or written;
  • posting or exhibiting a notice at the main entrance in a manner that is either prescribed by law or likely to come to the attention of the public;
  • a hearing authority or court order (see various references in the law); or
  • posting the property by placing identifying purple marks on trees or posts around the area where entry is denied.

Here are some important guidelines for applying the paint marks to indicate a No Trespassing area, according to the new law.

Each purple mark must be readily visible to any person approaching the property and must be placed:

  • on a tree, as a vertical line of at least eight (8) inches in length and with the bottom of the mark at least three (3) feet and not more than five (5) feet from the ground; and not more than one hundred (100) feet from the nearest other marked tree; or
  • on a post, with the mark covering at least the top two (2) inches of the post, and with the bottom or the mark at least (3) feet and not more than five (5) feet six (6) inches from the ground; and not more than thirty-six (36) feet from the nearest other marked post.

Before a purple mark that would be visible from both sides of a fence shared by different property owners or lessees may be applied, all of the owners or lessees of the properties must agree to post the properties with purple marks under subsection (c)(4).

Find the code online at Indiana General Assembly’s webpage. Start at

Farlee recommended that landowners consider using a high-quality boundary marking paint to extend the lifespan of paint applications.


Above image: Purple paint on this tree marks “No Trespassing”. Image courtesy of (Photo by: Robert Burns, Texas A&M AgriLife Communications.)

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