What is Flagging Tape?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 17 January 2020
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Flagging tape is a type of typically non-adhesive tape which is used to create highly visible and very bright markings in a wide variety of applications. This type of tape is sometimes known as survey tape or flagging ribbon, and it is sold in many hardware and nursery supply stores, as well as through medical supply companies. There are a wide range of uses for flagging tape, and it can be useful to have a roll or two around.

A typical roll of flagging tape is brightly colored, and it may be solid or printed with a pattern such as dots, checks, or stripes. The tape is usually made from vinyl or another weather-resistant material, although it is possible to find biodegradable flagging tape for particular applications. The tape is also non-adhesive, acting more like a ribbon than a classical tape, with some companies producing flagging tape with a mild adhesive for special needs.


One of the classic uses of flagging tape is in surveying, where it is necessary to create markers which will endure for months or years at particular locations of interest ranging from property boundaries to the site of underground utilities. This tape is also used by foresters to mark trees in accordance with a timber harvest plan, and it can be utilized to mark trails and other points of interest in the outdoors. A forester might, for example, use a particular color of flagging tape to indicate that an animal is nesting nearby, so that other workers in the woods will have a warning sign.

Nurseries utilize flagging tape to mark young trees and plants. At home, gardeners sometimes use the tape to mark various plants of interest in their gardens, and it can also be used to flag bulbs. Since bulbs only produce foliage and bloom during a brief period of the year, a stake with a flagging tape marker can be used to tag an area where bulbs grow, so that people are aware of the fact that they should be careful while digging in that area. Flagging tape can also be used to mark electric fences and fine wire fences, with the brightly-colored flags highlighting a thin wire which might be otherwise invisible.

Hospitals and emergency medical responders also utilize flagging tape. In disaster situations, flagging tape can be used in triage, with different colors identifying various triage levels, from dead to only mildly injured. Flagging tape is also used to tag dangerous medications, and to link medical equipment with particular wards or floors so that hospital personnel know where equipment comes from.


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