MISSOURI — Purple paint seems to pop up on different fence posts or along property lines as you are driving. Some may already know why this is but many may be left wondering why these trees or fences are painted purple.

KMZU’s Amanda Wagner spoke with Nate Cahill, Agricultural Business Specialist with the University of Missouri Extension, about what purple paint is used for and how it can be beneficial for landowners. He pointed out that the purple paint law has been around Missouri since the early 90’s. Click below to hear the full, edited interview which aired live on KMZU.

According to the MU Extension website, during its 1993 legislative session, the Missouri legislature enacted a new statute pertaining to trespassing. The new law, the Purple Paint Statute (RSMO 569.145), provides yet another way for Missouri landowners to protect their property from trespassers.

Cahill says that Missouri got a lot of it’s legislation from Arkansas, where the law began in 1989.

Landowners can still use “No Trespassing” signs, however the Purple Paint Statute allows landowners to mark trees or posts with purple paint as a warning to would-be trespassers.

Just like a “No Trespassing” sign or actual communication to individuals that no trespassing is allowed, the purple paint marks are considered to be adequate notice to the public that no trespassing is allowed on the property. Trespassers can be found guilty of first-degree trespassing if found on property market with purple paint.

“Outside of its cost, it’s relatively easy to use one can of spray paint over multiple locations,” says Cahill. “…if you’ve got someone that’s trespassing, it’s really easy to rip the sign down, as opposed to putting that spray paint up and you can continue to reapply it, where it’s harder for those trespassers to argue that they didn’t see the purple spray paint.”

Purple paint regulations include:

  • Any owner or lessee of real property can post property with the purple paint marks.
  • Purple paint marks must be placed on either trees or posts (the statute does not specifically allow the option of placing paint marks on buildings).
  • Vertical paint lines must be at least 8 inches long (the statute does not mention a maximum length).
  • The bottom edge of each paint mark must be between 3 feet and 5 feet off the ground.
  • Paint marks must be readily visible to any person approaching the property.
  • Purple paint marks cannot be more than 100 ft. apart.

You can find out more on the purple paint law at the extension website.