One of the benefits of living in Missouri is the ability to not have to walk far before you see trees. Sometimes you'll see cryptic markings on the trunk of a tree that means something. If you happen upon a tree that has black paint, that's a sure sign that someone's in trouble.

I found a helpful guide to paint colors on trees in Missouri and what they mean from the Family Handyman. For example, if you see white paint, that means the tree contains an endangered species meaning don't touch it. A blue or yellow paint splotch means that tree is marked by the US Forest Service for cutting.

Specifically in Missouri, purple paint means no trespassing as it's a property boundary, but what about black paint? According to the US Forest Service, black paint is the indication that someone made a mistake and the planned work is cancelled.

Bob Ross would have been so sad to hear about paint errors on trees.

The good news for you if you see black paint when you're walking in the Missouri woods is you've done nothing wrong and you don't need to take any action. It's simply a way of communicating within the US Forest Service in regards to tree management in Missouri.

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