Frequently Asked Questions: Hanging No Trespassing Signs

Updated: Jul 9, 2020


Hay bale on a field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).
Hay bale on a field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

This post should not be construed as legal advice.


Hanging a “No Trespassing” sign is a good way to put the public on notice that your property is private and trespassers are not welcome. But how many “No Trespassing” signs should you hang? Is one enough? Two? Three? Or how many exactly should you hang? This is a question many of you ask me periodically. Let’s first talk about how many signs you should hang on your property.


Two cows on a field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).
Two cows on a field (Photo by Edwin Remsberg).

To start with, a trespasser is a person who enters your farmland without your consent and remains without your consent. For example, Charlie is hunting on your neighbor’s property, inadvertently gets onto your property, and continues to hunt there. Charlie would be a trespasser in this case because he entered your property and remained there without your consent. Charlie may have committed one of two types of trespass recognized in Maryland: 1) criminal trespass and 2) civil trespass.

Sign that says What Part of No Trespassing Don't You Understand (Source Wikicommons).
Sign that says What Part of No Trespassing Don't You Understand (Source Wikicommons).

Criminal trespass is when the property is clearly posted with no trespassing signs that can be reasonably seen (Md. Crim. Law Code Ann. § 6-402(a)(1)) or according to Department of Natural Resources regulations that allow for a paint mark indicating no trespassing to be used on trees (Md. Nat. Res. Code Ann. § 6-402(a)(2)). So how many signs should you hang? To answer that question, first walk the property. Decide on areas that will allow a sign to be clearly seen (not hidden) in multiple directions if possible. One good spot to start is with all road entrances to the property. Potentially, a trespasser would utilize a road entrance and this would put them on notice not to enter the property. If the property adjoins other property, consider locations on the property line that will make signs visible. If the property has water access, then consider areas a