What It Means When Texas Trees And Fences Are Painted Purple

The color purple is a warning, “the same as you might see a ‘No trespassing’ sign.”

By Joy DiazJune 17, 2020 3:48 pm,

Texas is one of a few states that uses purple as an official warning color. That’s unlike much of the rest of the world that uses orange to identify hazards, based on standards established by the International Organization for Standardization. In Texas, purple is the new orange.

Tiffany Lashmet, a blogger and Texas A&M University agricultural law specialist, has been considering this colorful confusion.

“I don’t think it’s something that people are aware of,” she told Texas Standard host David Brown. “I’m not sure how helpful that is, if I’m somebody who’s really wanting to follow the law and I just don’t know what it means.”

What it usually means is no trespassing, “just the same as you might see a ‘No trespassing’ sign,” Lashmet said.

The presence of the paint only really matters in criminal trespassing lawsuits. According to the Texas penal code chapter 30.05, a plaintiff must give notice of forbidden entry on their property. The purple paint is one method of doing so that the court recognizes.

“There’s a lot of rules on painting it,” Lashmet said. The lines have to be vertical, with very specific dimensions, usually shaped like a square.

“In Texas, if you did the exact same thing with orange paint it would not have the same legal effect,” she added.

But another state might be different. Lashmet said to check local statutes to be sure. In many of them, orange is recognized rather than purple.

Web story by Sarah Gabrielli.

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