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My child has been swinging in our front yard (NC, US) and worn away the grass, revealing this metallic stake (* See photo, note the acorn top for scale*):

I gently tried to pull it up, but it is lodged in pretty well, and I don't want to damage city property it could indicate a gas line or something important. I don't think it is a ground rod (it seems to be stainless steel).

As it is right under her swing I'd like to remove it as it is a safety hazard, but I think I probably shouldn't.

enter image description here

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    It's highly unlikely to be any sort of survey marker. Those, in my experience, are larger, round and have identifying marks on them so future surveyors know what they're looking at.
    – FreeMan
    Dec 8 '20 at 18:58
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    It's a common shape for a tent peg. These are meant for tough ground and will take quite a beating from a hammer. They are also well suited to windy weather. Just hook the nail remover from a hammer on it and pull it out. Should come out easily. The whole thing should look like this: outdoorextreme.nl/tent-haring-24-cm
    – Kasper
    Dec 8 '20 at 19:03
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    @neuronet there are plenty of uses for those other than tents. Around here, people use them to hold down tarps on their front lawn during the winter. The idea is to easily remove debris from the snow blowers once all the snow melts in the spring. Probably not a thing where you are but there are certainly other possibilities.
    – Olivier
    Dec 8 '20 at 19:25
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    Not familiar with acorn. Needs banana for scale.
    – psaxton
    Dec 9 '20 at 5:12
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    If the stake were wooden you might have a whole new set of problems.
    – DMoore
    Dec 9 '20 at 19:17
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Looks like a run-of-the-mill landscape stake to me. They're used for securing plastic edging, fabric, etc. Could also be a tent peg. It's a horse apiece.

enter image description here

I'd give it a few taps with a hammer to loosen it, then try prying it out with a spade or the hammer with a block under it.

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    A few taps with a hammer on the head from each side, not down. ;)
    – Alaska Man
    Dec 8 '20 at 19:20
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    Down is fine. In fact, that's the best way to break the shear connection that usually results due to corrosion. Mine were extremely rusted. It's not usually difficult to hook the flange in soil.
    – isherwood
    Dec 8 '20 at 19:22
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    I actually had to look up "a horse apiece" trying to figure out what in the world you were trying to say, and I'm a pretty travelled and fluent native English speaker. This seems to be a quirky expression that is only really understood in a few corners of the US (or maybe just in Wisconsin?). I don't think it really adds anything to this answer and I feel we should generally refrain from highly dialectal English here.
    – J...
    Dec 9 '20 at 12:32
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    @J... On the one hand I understand your argument on the other, Hey I learned a cool new phrase.:) (as a side note I lived in Wisconsin for 7 years of my life, never heard it).
    – DRF
    Dec 9 '20 at 16:05
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    This is it. Given its height it was probably used for a weed mat at some time. A lot of times there is mulch over it and the stake is an afterthought.
    – DMoore
    Dec 9 '20 at 19:18
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Most municipalities and counties maintain a central resource of buried utility line locations. Here in New England it's telephone 888-DIG-SAFE. In most of the U.S. you can start with telephone 811.

They probably do not know exactly where the lines run onto your property, but they will tell you what to look for, and if that stake is one of theirs.

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    Thanks: I mention in post I'm in NC, US. Will look up the 811 thing here that is a great tip. Indeed: nc811.org
    – neuronet
    Dec 8 '20 at 18:50

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