The mistake was made of not test sampling the product. The mistake continued by placing it on trees solely based on the product being touted by the company that it was something that easily washes off in the rain and was safe to use on trees. This is the only reason it was used and in retrospect, the worst possible solution to course marking. Not to worry, I am more than well aware this was a major mistake. It will never happen again from me, that's for sure.
As everyone knows who has visited the park and been out on the trails hiking or biking, the rain did not wash all of this product away (except on the pavement, grass, and gravel). The orange markings on trees have been a major problem and eye sore that desperately needed a solution. I spoke with somebody this year from the Warren County Conservation board who said they had used the same product for an event and had the same problem requiring them to use a water pressure washer to remove the marking paint. How was I going to get a pressure washer out on the trails? And would that really be safe for the trees?
Scrubbing with a soft bristle brush and water helped a little, but didn't remove much of it. So the orange marks remained drawing plenty of ire and frustration from everyone. My frustration grew with each subsequent rain, week, month, and finally it has now been two full years without seeing much progress of the product disappearing on the trees. Odd that it washed totally away on several of the trees or stumps that were more exposed to sun and rain, but didn't budge at all on others.
What was needed? A wire brush? A bark colored cover? More rain? Well, finally after a nice tip from trail user Angie Fry Boyens who had first suggested a graffiti removal product that was supposed to be safe for trees (I've heard that before!!!!), came her suggestion of asking me if I had tried using mud to remove the paint? Mud? Hmmmm....
No, I had not tried mud. Reading online I discovered that mud does not harm the tree, it will stain and blend in with the bark in a natural manner, and it will draw the paint out of the bark. Really? Mud?
The recipe I read in an online discussion forum dating from 2005 about safe paint removal from trees was this: