What do the Purple Fence Posts in Texas Mean?

Whenever we visit Texas, we’d navigate our way through ranch and farm lands in Texas Hill Country on county and farm roads. But, we noticed something quite peculiar we’ve not seen anywhere else. Or, could it be we’re not paying attention? So the question arises, “what do those purple fence posts mean?”

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What do the Purple Fence Posts in Texas Mean?

Although purple is a cool artsy color, the purple fence posts are taken very seriously in Texas! And if you see one, it would be a good idea to know exactly what they mean and stand for. They certainly aren’t an art deco kind of thing. But exactly what do they mean?

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No Trespassing!

This establishment dates back to Arkansas’ law in 1989 with Texas and eight other states following suit eight years later in 1997 to alert people the division between private and public property.

Still in effect, the official law states that landowners had to put up a sign detailing what the purple paint signified in addition to painting the areas.  Obviously, there was much confusion…why paint if signs are required?

In this case, the law became sort of silly-stupid. The Texas Legislature pretty much sympathized with landowners who were having to constantly replace their No Trespassing signs because of vandalism and theft.

Trespassers would use the posted signs for target practice or even steal them to decorate their own properties. So, they came up with a colorful law.

Texas - purple fence post 3

The Law of the Land

The Texas Law is HB 793, under Texas Penal Code 30.05, Criminal Trespass, section 1, subsection D.

The law requires the following regarding the use of purple paint;

1.    Markings must be:
a.    Vertical
b.    At least 8” long
c.    At least 1” wide
d.    Bottom of mark should be between 3-5 feet above ground
2.    Markings can be no more than 100 feet apart in timberland
3.    Markings can be no more than 1,000 feet apart on open land
4.    Markings must be in a place visible by those approaching the property.
Just so you know, trespassing is a Class B misdemeanor in Texas, unless the intruder is carrying a firearm, which then, is a Class A misdemeanor.

So, now we know the meaning behind the purple fence posts.  Now, landowners and ranchers don’t have to continuously replace costly signs. And, everyone can see them!

Texas Purple Fence Post 2


But ‘why purple’?? It certainly isn’t because they follow Prince or it’s an artsy statement. The color purple was chosen  for a simple reason. Purple is visible to people who are colorblind.

Also, this colorful warning is permanent. Purple attracts attention because it’s different and doesn’t typically blend into the natural surroundings. It certainly did attract ours enough to look it up due to curiosity.

So, in the event that you’re traversing backroads and byways of Texas (or any other state!) and you see those purple fence posts or property markings, as Bill Engvall would tell you, “here’s your sign!” STAY OUT! 

If you’re in Texas Hill Country, check out:

7 Friendliest Places to Visit in Texas Hill Country

Texas Hill Country: Bluebonnets on Willow City Loop

Three Sisters Motorcycle Ride in Hill Country, Texas

First Time Visitor’s Guide to Fredericksburg, Texas





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