What is a "tubeling"?
"Tubelings" are young seedling trees (or bushes) that are 6–10 inches tall. These plants are grown rapidly in a greenhouse in plastic "plug" containers, and at the age of 3 months are as big and strong as a field-grown plant a year old. For best results, plant tubelings directly into their permanent location.
One thing to bear in mind is that we keep learning how to grow them better, so every year they may look a little different from the previous year. A few years ago, we were shipping out plants with 8-12 inch tops and lots of big green leaves. Typically, we now grow them until they are 8-12 inches tall, at which point we cut them back to 6-8". This toughens the young plants dramatically, preparing them for the nasty world of deer and rabbits while they still have the nut attached to repair the damage and start the new buds. It makes them more wind resistant and removes some of those big leaves that can cause water stress if planted in dry weather. The plants are shipped as soon as the new buds are 1/4 to 1/2 inch long, and they should be planted out at that point. They are tough, actively growing, with healthy roots 5-8 inches long, and new buds starting to grow.
Unless damaged in shipping or while being held waiting for planting (DON'T just leave them lying in the sun all day!) they should start to grow in their new site just like they'd always been there.