the toolbox

Robot does windows

There are robots to clean your floors and robots to mow your lawn. Now there's a robot to wash your windows.

The Winbot 7 moistens, squeegees and dries windows automatically. The gadget, from Ecovacs Robotics, can also clean mirrors and glass doors, railings and shower stalls, with or without frames. It cannot be used on windows smaller than 24 inches high and 18 inches wide, or on textured glass or other glass with an uneven surface.

The device has a vacuum pump and dual suction rings to keep it adhered to the glass, but a safety pod is included for use when cleaning the outside of windows above ground level. The safety pod attaches to the Winbot's power cord and catches it if it falls.

The Winbot 730, the model currently available in the Winbot 7 series, is available from the SkyMall and Sharper Image catalogs and websites. Suggested retail price is $399.

Cutting back sedum

Q: My sedum plants are about 12 or 13 inches tall. When they bloom, they get leggy. When can I cut them back, and how far?

A: Upright sedums such as Autumn Joy can be pinched or cut back in late spring or early summer to encourage bushier plants. It's best to start when the plants are about 8 inches tall, but it's not too late to give yours a haircut.

You can either pinch off the tips of each stalk or just cut the plants to about half their height. If you start early enough, you can repeat the process once or twice until about mid-July, but then leave the plants alone to continue growing.

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