While out on a hike through a wooded area in northern Illinois, I came across some trees that legit had purple paint on them! I got so curious, that I had to figure out what was going on. What does it mean when you see purple paint on a tree?

If you see a yellow or orange paint marking on a tree, that's for "harvest boundaries" according to Famlly Handy Man, and if you see a black paint marking on that same tree, it's considered an "eraser" that marks an error.

Why Are The Bottoms of Some Trees Painted White?

Trees that have the bottoms of their trunks painted completely white are being protected from what's called sunscald. According to Taste of Home, sunscald happens to trees during the winter when "extreme fluctuations in temperatures cause the bark to split."

Purple Paint Laws in Illinois

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What It Means When You See Purple Paint on a Tree in Illinois

According to Illinois' Purple Paint Law, landowners can still use 'No Trespassing' signs to warn others to stay off their property, but as an alternative purple paint may be used by landowners to "mark trees or posts to indicate their property boundaries."

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Illinois Purple Paint Laws

According to the Illinois Forestry website, if you're marking trees with purple paint it needs to be "with a vertical line at least 8 inches long and between 3 and 5 feet off the ground with no more than 100 feet between marked trees."


If you're putting the marking on a fence post, the purple paint should be "marked by painting the top two inches which must be between 3 and 5 feet off the ground with no more than 36 feet between posts."

It also states.

 Landowners using purple paint must also post a sign indicating their use of this method at the main entrance to their property.

CLICK HERE to find out more about the Purple Paint Law.

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