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Forestry Paint Marks & What They Mean

Updated: May 14, 2020

Paint markings on the tree are communication between the forester and logging crew to implement the management of the silvicultural prescription.

Paint markings can mean many different things on a job site and it is crucial that good communication occurs between all parties to ensure management is being done correctly.

Here are some of the things that a paint mark could mean in the woods and what the common color/mark is by Hunters Land Management:

Property Boundary Marking: These marks are used to identify the property boundaries to let loggers know where the property ends.

  • two horizontal/45 degree yellow lines along property lines as well as three horizontal/45 degree yellow lines at a property corner.

Harvest Tree Marking: These marks are used to identify trees to be cut in a harvest. This type of marking is used most commonly when doing a selection harvest, thinning, or Timber Stand Improvement.

  • One horizontal/45 degree angle red/orange line or a red/orange dot

Harvest Boundary Marking: These marks face inward on a harvest unit and create the edge of the harvested area. While a logger is cutting within the stand he can then see these marks and know where to not cut past. This type of marking is used most commonly when doing a clear cut, seed tree cut, or shelterwood.

  • two horizontal/45 degree angle red/orange lines.

Leave Tree Marking: This type of marking is used to identify trees not to be harvested inside of a harvest boundary marked area. The photo below is an example: In this white oak shelterwood harvest all trees within the harvest area are to be harvested EXCEPT trees marked with blue paint.

  • One horizontal/45 degree angle blue line, horizontal blue ring, or a blue dot

Arrows: Trees marked with arrows can often note the direction a tree needs to fall or a dead branch in the top to make a cutter aware of danger.

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