Why Are People in New York Painting Their Trees Purple and What Does It Mean?
Drive down virtually any rural road in Pennsylvania and if you look closely enough, you’ll notice that there are fewer no trespassing signs and more purple strips of paint on trees. What does it mean and is there a Purple Paint law in New York?
The Purple Paint law gives property owners the ability to spray-paint their trees purple – not the entire tree, just a small bit of it- as a way to signal that the property is private and trespassers are not welcome.
In New York, landowners are authorized to post “no trespassing signs” and give written notice to those trespassing on their property. However, the purple paint trend is starting to gain traction in New York with people painting trees and fenceposts, however, the law doesn't carry weight in the state.
In the state of New York, any individuals who trespass on areas that are posted face a $250 fine, and/or 15 days of jail time. If property on posted land is damaged by a trespasser, additional legal action can be brought against the perpetrator.
Before you paint stips of purple on your trees in New York, know that while the Purple Paint Law is active in 14 states, including neighboring Pennsylvania, the law doesn’t apply to New York and the state will not recognize purple paint as posting of private property so it will not take legal action against anyone who trespasses on land with purple trees.
In 2018, former state Senator James L. Seward introduced a bill in New York for the state to adopt the Purple Paint Law, however, it died in the Assembly. Those who are for the law point out that purple paint cuts down on the number of damaged or missing no trespassing signs landowners have to replace. Purple is also a color that is easily identified by individuals who are color blind.